Monday, February 7, 2011

Ape House by Sarah Gruen

My online bookclub just started reading Ape House by Sarah Gruen.  I have to admit I was not all that excited about the selection.   I just finished Water for Elephants by the same author a couple weeks agoand did not like it all that much.  I know that everyone I talked to loved the book.  I just never really  into and never loved it.  Granted I was trying to read it during a couple difficult weeks of my life so that may have had something to do with it.  Also, when I heard about the selection of the book I could only think to myself that I have not an ape person or an animal person so how could I possibly enjoy this book.

Well, I was very wrong!  So far I have really enjoyed this book.   I have had to stop myself to stay on track with the schedule.

So here's my thoughts on this weeks questions:

1.  What was your initial reaction to the idea of a language lab with bonobos who are capable of having conversations with humans?
This brought back so many memories to me of my college days.   I was a psychology major and some of my study was on different communications and the psychology etc of animals.   I was very interested in the lab and the communication with the bonobos.   I am sure that humans and apes communicate in varies way and it seems really interesting to me that the language is studies in the lab.

2.  Isabel said early in the book that the apes know they're apes and know that the humans are humans, but they don't see any superiority with either... What do you think the major difference is between the two?
Tough question to answer.   I know that Isabel probably feels the same way about the apes, she doesn't see any superiority beacuse she interacts with them all the time.   To me, it is very clear that humans are superior to apes because we can do things such as drive, run businesses, etc.   Apes are very intelligent and can communicate with humans but it is clearly not at the same level.  If I spent as much time as Isabel with the apes I may feel very different about the superiority of the two beings.

3.  What are your thoughts on John and his feelings toward Isabel?  How do you think their relationship will play out?
It seems very obvious to me that John and Isabel will develop a relationship later in the book.   He seems to have a connection to her and she is very vulnerable after the explosion of the lab.

4.  How do you think that Isabel will respond to the apes being taken?
The apes are a big part of Isabel's life.   I think that she will react like person that has lost a close friend.

5.  Do you think Celia is part of the team that ambushed the learning center?
I do not think that Celia is part of the team that ambushed the learning center.  She has something else going on in her life that I think will develop in the story, but not the bombing.

6.  What are your thoughts on John and his relationship with Amanda?
John and Amanda seem to have a pretty good relationship I am assuming that something is going to happen between them.  Amanda is so upset and trying to get her life on track with the move to L.A.  Long distance relationships usually don't work so it is presumable that they will not work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am hoping that 2011 can be a better year.  2010 has been very difficult for me.

My family is having a hard time.  It seems like we get one issue resolved and something else smacks us down. 

I know that we will all come out stronger in the end but we need a break!   Please.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes - End of the book!

It seems like so long ago that I read this book!   I have had a lot going on in my life and can barely remember the details anymore.  Maybe I have a short term memory problem.

I am so excited to start the next book.   Based on the current voting it looks like it will be "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".   Which I already have it on my Kindle because I was going to start it earlier this summer and never did.

On to the discussion for the remainder of the book.

1.  At the end we find out Tim was sending Cory money because he thought she could be his daughter since he was having an affair with Genevieve.  Did you see this coming?
I was so shocked!  I know that Genevieve made some comments to CeeCee, while in the cabin, that Tim liked the ladies.  I really thought that Genevieve and her husband sounded like a wholesome all around couple.  I figured Tim sent the money because he felt bad about the kidnapping situation and that Eve had Cory.  Although I wonder how he knew to get the money to her.

2. By the end of the story, what were your feelings about Eve?  How had they changed since the beginning?
My feeling never changed for Eve.  I always felt sorry for her and felt that she needed to step up and take control of her life.

3.  Were you happy with the way President Russel treated Cory?
To be very honest, I can't remember how he treated her.   I remember that he gave some of her mother's things.   But I don't remember much more.  (I will have to read the other posts to jog my memory)

4. If you were in Cory's shoes and had just found out all of this about the women show raised you and who you believed to be your mother, how would you react?  Would you forgive?
I would be very upset, of course.  But I am a very forgiving person so I would probably forgive her.  I have always felt that a parent is so much more than someone who gives birth to you.  A parent is much more the person that raised you.

5. In your mind, how does this story end?  Do they all live happily ever after?  Does Cory go on having relationships with her old family and her new family?
Cory has a relationship with both families.   I think she will move on with her life be more independent, especially with a new baby.  But she will lean on each member of her family in different ways.

6. How do you think Cory has changed throughout the story?  Have your feelings about her changed?
I never really liked Cory during the story.  All of the fears that she lived with drove me crazy.   I hope that she can no find some closure to questions that she had in her life and be more grounded and independent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Secret Life of Cece Wilkes: Chapters 36 - 50

This book is coming quickly to an end and this weeks discussion makes me wish that I didn't read ahead!

Anyway, here's my thoughts for the week.

1.  Have your feelings about Tim changed throughout this last section of chapters?
I was very surprised that Tim did not mention CeeCee during the trial.  Throughout the book I just kept waiting for him to reach out to her or contact her in some way.  Because he never did and never mentioned her during the trial I almost liked him even less.   I just want him to remember or care about her. 

2. Do you agree with Cory and her behaviors as an adult and her life with Ken?  Is she justified in cutting her mother and father out of her life?
I don't agree with Cory.   She has a relationship with Ken that reminds me of the relationship that she had with her mother.  Ken is overprotective of her and allows her to be fearful of life instead of encouraging her to be confident.  Cory should not have cut out her mother and father, Ken was a big driver in this decision.

3.  At what point do you think Cory decided to spend less time with her mother?
Two things made Cory spend less time with her mother, her therapist and going away to school.  

4.  What do you think is Eve's biggest fear?
Simply, losing Cory.

5.  When the story about Genevieve's body came out what would you have done if you were Eve?  Just sat back and watched things unfold? Come forward? Would you tell Jack?
I would have told Jack. But I would have told Jack long before everything started to break.  I could not have lived the life that she is living.

6.  Do you think Eve should tell Jack and confess? Why? 
Eve should have told Jack everything long ago.   But based on the story, she needs to tell Jack so that he can support her as the news breaks.

Monday, August 30, 2010

" The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes" Chapters 21 - 35

This week we are discussing Chapters 21 - 35 of the book "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes".  This is about halfway through the book at this point.  It has been so much fun reading with other people and reading what they think about the book. I finished the book ahead of time because it was one of those books that you just couldn't put down.   Here are my thoughts for this week.

1.  Do you think Tim is the one sending the money?
I really didn't want to believe that Tim was sending the money.  If he was sending Cory money then he knows where CeeCee is living.  I kept questioning that if Tim sent the money why wasn't he contacting CeeCee.   But I do know that it only made sense that Tim was the one sending the money and deep down I believed the money came from him.

2.  So far, there's been a lot of discussion on CeeCee/Eve and her choices.  What choice(s) would you have made differently from her?
The biggest choice that I would have made different then CeeCee would have been that I would not have kept the baby.  I could not have lived a secret life like she is doing and try to raise a baby at the same time.  I would have also tried to make some decision for myself and not let other people make them for me.  I always felt through the entire book the CeeCee/Eve never made any decision for herself.

3. What do you like about Jack?  Are there things about him that you don't like?
Jack seems to be fun and happy all the time.   He is so different from Eve.   He lives life as it comes to him everyday and Eve stands back and watches life happen because she is always so nervous.  I didn't like that Jack saw so easily through Eve's lies and that he didn't pick up on anything. 

4.  What is the difference between CeeCee/Eve's relationship with Tim and Eve's relationship with Jack?
The biggest difference is the trust.   CeeCee trusted Tim to a fault.  She was so wrapped up by his spell that she did not see the big picture of what he was doing to her.   Eve's relationship with Tim is so much the opposite.   Eve had Jack under her spell believing all of the lies that she tells about her life and Cory.  

5.  Do you think that Eve is to blame for Cory's fears?  What could she do, specifically, to help Cory feel like an outsider?
Eve is somewhat responsible for Cory's fears.  Eve is so fearful that some of her fears have transferred to Cory.  I also believe that Cory just has a personality that is fearful and Eve's fears just helped bring out that fearfulness in her.  Eve needed to continue to encourage Cory and help overcome her fears.  I think that Eve really tried to help her as best as she possibly could.

6.  Do you think Eve appropriately answered Cory's questions about her father?  Do you think Cory will question her father more as he grows older?
Eve answered the questions as best as she could about Cory's father but I don't agree with the answers she gave her.  Eve is so deep into the lie of her life and Cory's life that she had to make up a story about the motorcycle accident.  To me, it is just continuing the lie and getting Eve in deeper into the fake life that she has been living.  But I don't know what else Eve could say except the truth.

I am so excited for the next book.  I can't wait to hear what it will be.  Although, next time I am going to do a better job of reading on the assigned schedule so that it make it easier to discuss the chapters.  Since I finished reading I have a hard time answering some of the discussion questions since I know what happens in the book! 

This has really rekindled my love for reading.   I look forward to reading all of the responses.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chapter 11 - 20 "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes"

Here are my thoughts on this weeks chapters.

And first things first, in response to Rachel's final question about CeeCee losing her letters from her mother.  I would just say that I kept trying to figure out a way that CeeCee could get her letters back once I realized that she was not going back and had to completely change her life.  But any of the options that I came up with put CeeCee/Eve in too much jeopardy of being discovered or found.   It was very sad.

1.  Where do you think Tim and Marty are at this point in the story?
I think that they are off in hiding somewhere just taking care of their lives.   I just kept wondering at this point if they even thought about CeeCee or had any concern for her safety and well being.  I was hoping that Tim would find a way to reach out to CeeCee and contact her in somehow.

2. What were your thoughts as CeeCee was helping Genevieve deliver her baby?
I was in total denial.   I really didn't think that she was actually delivering the baby.  I figured that Genevieve was just trying to get out of the cabin and escape.   Once I realized that she really was delivering the baby, I could only thing about CeeCee getting her to the hospital.  I thought she should just drive.  Even though she didn't know where she was, she would eventually find someone or something that could help her with Genevieve and the baby.

3. After Genevieve died, what would you have done with her baby if you had been in CeeCee's shoes?
I would have found a way to get her to a hospital or police station.  I would have left her somewhere with a note or something so she could be returned to her father.  I know CeeCee was nervous and sixteen but what she did seemed very odd to me.  She defiantly just went with the flow of life because people made the path for her instead of CeeCee making life decision for her and the baby.

4.  Why do you think CeeCee/Eve is still holding on to the hope that Tim will come for her?
CeeCee didn't believe that she was being used by Tim and Marty during this entire process.  She really believed that Tim loved and cared for her.   Since he was really all she had in life, she kept holding on to the thought that he would come for her. 

5.  How do you think Eve will establish her new identity in Virginia?
This question is really hard for me to answer because I have finished the book. So I will answer carefully.
I will say that I believed the Eve would always live in fear and be haunted by the choices she made getting involved with Tim and the kidnapping.

6.  What do you think of CeeCee/Eve now after she has gone through the kidnapping, the delivery of the baby, the escape, and the relocation?
CeeCee is just so scared and lost in life.  She can't seem to make a decision and just lets other people make decisions for her.   She needs to step on and be accountable her decisions. The one that she made in the past and start making decisions for her life going forward.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Secret Life of Cece Wilkes: Chapter 1 -10

First I must say that I couldn't put this book down!!   I could have read it all at one sitting but tried to hold back and finish the chapters along with the reading schedule.   While that didn't work and I have already finished the whole book.   But I look forward to participating in the weekly discussions!

I will answer the questions that were presented so I can stay on track of where everyone is reading and not jump ahead.

1.  What was your first impression of Tim?
I was very impressed by Tim's work habits and ethics.  He seemed so focused on working every morning in the diner.  But I did wonder who could do that everyday...spend so much time in a diner.

2. If you were in CeeCee's position, would you be willing to help your boyfriend in the way that she was willing to help Tim?
I by nature like to help people.   I sometimes get wrapped up into helping people and then step back and see "the big picture."  I also can be naive and only see good in people.   So with all that said I hate to say that I could see myself getting sucked in to help someone and getting in to deep like CeeCee.  Although thankfully I have passed 16 and can make better decisions.

3. Why do you think CeeCee is so eager to please Tim?
CeeCee really doesn't have anyone in her life, she needs to feel a connection with someone.  She has no family and has just bounced around in foster homes.  She is very vulnerable in life and Tim grabbed onto that personality and took advantage of her.  

4.  Who do you think has it harder?  Tim or CeeCee?
Defiantly CeeCee.  She seems so lonely and naive.   Tim has his brother and they can take care of each other.  CeeCee did not choose to lose her mother and have to watch her die.  Tim and his brother had more say in their actions (Don't want to say much more to avoid a spoiler)

5.  What character trait(s) about CeeCee stuck out the most to you in these first ten chapters? 
CeeCee has a great deal of drive and motivation.  She did not have a father and stood by her mothers side when she died at a very young ago.  CeeCee bounced around a couple foster homes for a few years.   Yet she still seemed to try to make the best of her life with everything that she was dealt.   She was working and had a focus of trying to go to school while she continued to save money.  

6. Do you think CeeCee is as mature as she seems?
No.  CeeCee has some mature characteristics because of the life that she was dealt.   But deep down inside she is very immature and scared.   She showed this by getting involved with Tim.  Especially she was so easily influnced by Tim.  If she were more mature she probably would not have gotten involved with Tim.