Sunday, July 26, 2009

Barney's Online Book Club -- July 2009 Discussion

Welcome to the first discussion post of Barney's Online Book Club! This month we are discussing The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow. Below are questions to start the discussion, feel free to raise your own questions in the comments section. Please note that the questions and the comments sections may include spoilers! Read at your own risk. To learn more about the book, please visit Sally Koslow's website.

Let the discussion begin!

Discussion Questions

1. What are your overall impressions of Molly and the life she led?

2. What were your thoughts of The Duration? Do you think Molly found what she was looking for there?

3. What role do you think Barry played in Molly's death? Luke? Kitty?

4. What do you think was Lucy's true motivation for taking Annabel from school?

5. Who do you think sent the picture of Luke to the detective?

6. Do you think Molly should have divorced Barry and pursued her relationship with Luke? Why didn't she?

So comment away! And remember to come back throughout the day and reply to other members' comments.


Jess said...

I guess that I will get us started!

#1 -- I thought Molly was a great character -- funny and strong. Her life was not without difficult decisions and mistakes, but I liked her even more because of her flaws. She was real to me.

#2 -- I thought the Duration was great. It allowed Molly to visit her loved ones and find some type of closure so she could move on and be at peace. I absolutely loved the 'bullshit detector' -- so funny!

#3 -- I think they all in some small way influenced her life and brought about her death. I don't think it was intentional. I think Molly, Luke, Barry, and Kitty all made small decisions that led to her death.

What did you think?

Shon said...

Good questions, Jess! Here are my answers:

1. I liked Molly. She wasn't perfect by any means. She tried to be the best mother and wife she could. At times she appeared to be insecure and not self-trusting. She seemed to know that areas in her life could have been better, although it didn't seem as though she knew how to fix them. So, sometimes she just ignored them.

2. The Duration was a time for Molly to reflect about her life. She saw where she made mistakes, realized what a better choice may have been and was able to accept the path she was on. The Duration also allowed her to witness how her family and friends truly felt about her. By being able to listen to their thoughts, she was able to understand their behaviors and allowed her to see them for who they really are. The Duration was a way for Molly to make peace with herself and her loved ones.

3. Their decisions and consequences of their decision led to Molly's death. I don't think they intentionally made these decisions with hopes of causing her death though. Little by little, their dynamics and own hidden agendas were weight she carried during that fateful bike ride.

4. I don't think Lucy was trying to kidnap her niece. I think it was an emotional decision that came from mourning the loss of her sister. I thought she feared the potential loss of her relationship with Annabel and didn't trust that Barry would allow her to remain in Annabel’s life.

5. Tough question! My immediate thought was Stephanie, but I couldn't figure out how she had access to the picture. Then I thought Kitty because she made reference to moving the investigation away from Barry and herself. Lucy knew for certain about the affair, but I couldn't see her giving the police this evidence. So basically, my answer is it could have been anyone.

6. I don't think divorcing Barry for Luke was the answer Molly was looking for. I felt Molly honestly loved her husband despite his (and her) indiscretions. What I wanted to see happen for Molly was a sense of peace and self-worth. I didn't think that truly happened until she died. Molly lived in others' shadows and I didn't think she ever felt good enough.

Jess said...

Hi Shon!

Great answers!

I definitely agree with what you were saying.

#4 -- I agree with Shon. I think it was fear that made Lucy take Annabel -- fear of losing a vital connection to her sister.

How did you feel about the ending of the book? Did it end how you expected?

Sally said...

Sally Koslow weighing in here. First of all, thanks to everyone for reading The Late, Lamented Molly Marx and for choosing it to discuss. I'm glad you all could relate to Molly, since there's as lot of me in her, flaws especially. The Duration is my fantasy of an afterlife destination...a place to reflect and learn to find peace...and I'm hoping readers will find their own Duration on earth....just as I think we all have those built-in bullshit detectors we should acive more often.

I agree with Jess that many people unwittingly caused Molly's death, and that not saving her in the end was the biggest crime. And some people got away it...just like in a real life.

Ask me anything...i will check in later.

Jess said...

Hi Sally!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Just a quick question -- What was your inspiration for The Late, Lamented Molly Marx?

#5: I figured that maybe Kitty or Stephanie sent the picture. Kitty was very nervous when questioned by the detective. I thought maybe she sent it to get him looking in the wrong direction.

Speaking of Hicks, what are everyone's thoughts on the detective?

Kristin said...

Hi gang! I just had a quick question. First of all, I really loved the book and am wondering one thing. If Molly had lived, would she have eventually been with Luke or would she still be married to Barry?

Sally said...

Sally-the-author again.

You asked about my inspiration for the book. It came to me all in one gulp while I was attending the funeral of a neighbor I knew slightly, but well enough to be puzzled by the eulogies, which didn't equate with anything I knew about her. This thought let me to wonder what she might have thought of the tributes....and this led to the book idea, what it would be like to attend your own funeral and check up on loved ones after you died. From this germ the idea grew. I knew the novel had to be build on the infranstructure of a mystery, and that the character needed to leave behind a young child and a complicated life.

To answer Kristin's question, if Molly had lived would she have stayed with Barry or wound up with Luke? I think that would have depended largely on how committed Barry was to changing. Molly wanted to clean up her act, even though she loved Luke.

Jess said...

#6 -- I am not sure if she really loved Barry, but I believe she loved the life they had together and their family with Annabel. I think in the long run she would have stayed with Barry for Annabel's sake.

Sally -- I am intrigued by Detective Hicks and how much compassion he had for Molly and his need to find who was responsible for her death. Is there a character (other than Molly) was your favorite or who you really enjoyed writing?

Sally said...

Hicks was a character I really loved writing. I got his name, which I love, from the Vietnam War leaped out at me, and to do this late soldier's honor, I wanted to create the persona of a deeply honorable man. I can understand why Brie fell in love with him. But I feel a little guilty saying I enjoyed writin him, because I enjoyed writing about all my characters,even the less virtuous ones such as Kitty, Barry and Stephanie.

Mishel said...

Aw I totally should have paid more attention. I've really wanted to be in a book club dicussion and read the same book with others and talk about it. I'll be sure to see what you have going for next time. Sorry to interrupt the discussion =D

Jess said...

Sally -- what a great story! I really loved Hicks and especially enjoyed the relationship between him and Brie.

I would think a character like Kitty would be fun to write -- a personality who always needed everything to be perfect and wanted or needed to be in control of everything.

Sally said...

Kitty was a breeze to write...I know a lot of women like Kitty in New York...if they'd ever wanted to work, they could have run General Motors.

Shon said...


I thought the ending fit perfectly with the story. For me, the book was mainly about choices we make and the consequences of those choices.

I was glad to see Molly found her peace (in death). Barry and Stephanie were not honest, trustworthy people and in the end, Ms. Koslow allowed the reader to see what can come from dishonesty. Were they truly happy now that they were married? I didn't think so.

I wanted Luke to find someone, but I truly felt he loved Molly and for him no one else came close to his one true love.

As for Molly's marriage to Barry, both allowed outside people and factors to invade their couple boundary. This allowed for weak points to grow, feelings to get hurt, trust to be broken, etc. I thought Barry loved Molly and cared for her, but I didn't believe he was in love with her. He was more about the presentation.

All in all, it was a great read!

Jess said...

Shon --

You make some really great points. I was sad at the end that Luke never found someone else. I thought it was interesting that Molly wanted Luke and Lucy to become a couple at the end.

I definitely agree with the thought that Barry was about presentation and how the outside world viewed his marriage. He picked Molly because he thought she would look the part of his wife. I do think that Barry truly cared for Molly, but didn't love her the way Luke did.

Sally -- Thank you so much for taking the time today to stop by and add your comments to the conversation and answer our questions. It was a wonderful book, I look forward to reading more of your work in the future!