Lisa Unger has once again written an engrossing, twisty-turning novel that grabs your brain and forces you to sit up and pay attention. Although the cover may look like it belongs on a Jodi Piccoult novel, it actually masks much more intriguing and multi-plot story that unwinds deliciously over the course of its 327 pages. Fragilecontains many characters, and several smaller plots, but the main focus of the book involves the disappearance of a troubled high school girl from her insulated town outside New York City. Did she really run away, as her Facebook page claims, or was she kidnapped? Local child psychiatrist Maggie and her husband, Detective Jones, become submerged in the events while simultaneously coping with their own ghosts that still haunt this town they both grew up in. While small town living may mean that everyone knows everyone else, reality is not always what it seems to be, and as the truth of the crime begins to come to light, so do the facts surrounding another event from the past that threatens to overcome them all. What you think is the main plot is actually a venue to uncover something else entirely. Fragile has many positive aspects, not the least of which is the multi-layered character writing done by Unger. The story is told by multiple characters, who play various roles throughout. Typically I have a favorite character, or at the very least stifle a groan when a chapter is told from the perspective of a particular character in a multi-cast novel, but this time I didn't; each one was lifelike and important beyond his or her part in the mystery at hand. Even the characters in the story that you knew, just KNEW, had a part in the girl's disappearance, were dimensional and had a draw. This brings up an important point; due to the multi-voice storytelling, the reader knows more about what is really going on than any one of the characters for most of the novel. However, this is not to say that I knew exactly what had occured in either the disappearance at hand *or* the mystery from the past, and this was delightful. I knew just enough to *think* I knew what happened, which kept me from feeling like I should probably just skim the rest (ahem, again with the Piccoult reference), but there were indeed surprises ahead, unvelied throughout the last third of the novel, that changed my perceptions and made me respect Unger more as a writer. I reada lot, as you have probably noticed, and it's not typical that I don't have just about everything figured out by the middle of the book. I love that I didn't here. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that even though I thought I had figured everything out, I didn't care. I was enjoying the book, and the unfolding events, too much to stop reading. I read every word on every page. If you read this book, alone or with others, consider the following book club questions: 1. How did your perception of Tommy Delano change throughout the novel? Were you surprised at his letter? 2. What do you think would have happened if Sarah hadn't gotten into the car that day? What would have the more immediate repercussions been for Sarah, and for Maggie? What long-term implications might have there been for all the characters? 3. Social media plays a significant role in the mystery surrounding Charlene's disappearance. Considering the pervasiveness of internet culture, what safeguards do you think are appropriate for a teenage online consumer? 4. Maggie and Jones experience significant conflict over their son, Rick. Whose side did you find yourself taking? Why? Rating: four out of five stars. Engaging, character-driven novel that takes the reader on a trail-of-crumbs through the history and mystery of a small town.
OSLO, Norway - A suspected right-wing Christian gunman in police uniform killed at least 85 people in a ferocious attack on a youth summer camp of Norway's ruling Labour party, hours after a car bomb killed seven in Oslo.
Police said the suspect immediately surrendered when told to do so and has confessed, Reuters reported.
Witnesses said the gunman, identified by police as a 32-year-old Norwegian, moved across the small, wooded Utoya holiday island on Friday firing at random as young people scattered in fear.
Police detained the tall, blond suspect, named by local media as Anders Behring Breivik, and charged him for the island killing spree and the Oslo bomb blast.
Norwegian police would neither confirm nor deny if the killer acted alone, but were looking into reports of a second suspect.
Norway's national news agency, NTB, reported Saturday that witnesses told police two people were involved in the shooting on the island, which lasted for about 90 minutes.
At the time of the massacre, hundreds of children were on the island, aged from 11 or 12 to 18 or 19.
National police Chief Oystein Maeland said the attack had reached "catastrophic dimensions."
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, capturing the shock the attacks have caused in this normally quiet nation of 4.8 million, said he had been to the island every summer since 1979, saying "my youth paradise, and now it's been changed to hell," according to a simultaneous translation provided by Sky News.
Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen would not speculate on the man's motives but told a news conference: "He describes himself as a Christian, leaning toward right-wing Christianity, on his Facebook page."
"As of now we have 84 dead at Utoeya," Andresen said. "In Oslo, with the explosion and the impact it had, we are not yet sure if that number is final. At Utoeya, the water is still being searched for more victims."
On Saturday, Stoltenberg, Norway's King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon arrived at a hotel where survivors and family members are staying to attempt to comfort them.
After meeting survivors, Stoltenberg said Norwegian officials were working with foreign intelligence agencies to see if there there was any international involvement in attacks.
He said part of the police inquiry into what happened "is obviously to ... investigate whether there are any international connections.''
Witnesses described how teenagers at the lakeside camp fled screaming in panic when the attack began Friday, many leaping into the water to save themselves, as the assailant began spraying them with gunfire.
'Please no, please no' Adrian Pracon, on official at the youth camp, gave an terrifying account to BBC News, describing how people were shot dead around him and he only survived by playing dead.
Pracon, speaking from his hospital bed, said when he first began to hear shooting, he thought it must be some kind of drill. Then he saw people he worked with trying to flee the gunman.
"As they were running, they were shot from behind, falling just in front of me," Pracon said.
He and a group of people then ran into the water and started swimming.
"I was the last man hitting the water and therefore I didn't have time to take my shoes and clothes off," Pracon told the BBC. "I had to return because the boots and clothes were pulling me under."
As he returned, the gunman was on the shore and Pracon thought he was about to die. "He saw me returning, he saw I was almost at the shore and pointed the barrel at me. At that time I yelled and cried 'Please no, please no.'"
Pracon told the BBC that for some reason the gunman "spared my life."
He said he lay down on the shore among a number of dead bodies and tried to play dead.
"Then there approached 10 people. He started shooting at every single person, they were crying, they were screaming, people were falling over me. These were my friends," Pracon told the BBC. "While I was playing [dead], I had to shield myself with people. By playing dead, I believed I saved my own life."
Pracon said he was shot in the back at close range by the gunman. "I didn't look up to see him ... but I could feel the warm air from the barrel. My left ear had an injury because of the blast when I got shot. It felt like someone hit me."
He told the BBC that he lay perfectly still and thought the gunman must have believed that he was dead.
Boy, 11, chased by gunman Pracon, who was in hospital with what he described as a low-priority wound, said at one point during the killings, a boy aged about 11 ran up to him. "He said his dad was just shot and now the gunman is after him," he said.
Another survivor, Emilie Bersaas, told Sky News she heard gunshots, fled to nearby building and hid under a bed.
"The shooting came from all different directions," she said. "It was very terrifying. At one point the shooting was very, very close to the building — I think it actually hit the building one time."
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Survivor Jorgen Benone spoke of "total chaos" on the island.
"I saw people being shot. I tried to sit as quietly as possible. I was hiding behind some stones. I saw him once, just 20, 30 metres away from me. I thought 'I'm terrified for my life', I thought of all the people I love," he said.
"I saw some boats but I wasn't sure if I could trust them. I didn't know who I could trust any more," he added. "I think several lost their lives as they tried to get over to the mainland."
Anita Lien, 42, who lives by Tyrifjord lake, a few hundred yards from Utoeya, said she saw about 50 people swimming toward the shore from the island.
"People were crying, shaking, they were terrified," said "They were so young, between 14 and 19 years old."
Others sought shelter in buildings as shots echoed across the island that was hosting the annual camp for the youth wing of the Labour Party, the dominant force in politics since World War Two. Others fled into the woods or tried to swim to safety.
Boats searched for survivors into the night, searchlights sweeping the coast. Rescue helicopters flew overhead.
'A national tragedy' Stoltenberg said he knew many of the victims personally. "I know the young people and I know their parents," he said.
"And what hurts more is that this place where I have been every summer since 1979, and where I have experienced joy, commitment and security, has been hit by brutal violence," he added.
"What happened at Utoeya is a national tragedy," he said of the small wooded holiday island where the gunman ran amok. "Not since World War Two has our country seen a greater crime."
A camp guard, Simen Braenden Mortensen, said that the gunman had tricked his way onto the island by posing as a policeman driving a silver grey car.
"He gets out of the car and shows ID, says he's sent there to check security, that that is purely routine in connection with the terror attack (in Oslo)," Mortensen told the daily Verdens Gang.
"It all looks fine, and a boat is called and it carries him over to Utoya. A few minutes passed, then we heard shots," he said.
Bjorn Jarle Rodberg Larsen, a member of the Hedmark County Council of Labor, told Nettavisen that colleagues on the scene said the man walked in Friday afternoon shortly after the bombing.
"He was in a police uniform and said he was part of the increased security," Larsen said, quoting the eyewitnesses. "A little after he arrived, he took out a gun and began shooting."
At a news conference Friday night, police said the gunman was not connected to the police and "has no relation to us."
The bomb, which shook Oslo's centre in mid-afternoon, blew out the windows of the prime minister's building and damaged the finance and oil ministry buildings.
In Oslo, police confirmed at least seven dead in the bomb blast. At least 10 injured people were admitted to Oslo University Hospital, a hospital spokesman told Reuters.
Police also found undetonated explosives on Utoeya, a pine-clad island about 500 yards long.
With police advising people to evacuate central Oslo, and some soldiers taking up positions on the streets, the usually sleepy capital was gripped by fear of fresh attacks. Streets were strewn with shattered masonry, glass and twisted steel.
Right-wing militancy has generated sporadic attacks in other countries, including the United States. In 1995, 168 people were killed when Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb at a federal building in Oklahoma City.
The Oslo district attacked is the very heart of power in Norway. Nevertheless, security is not tight in a country unused to such violence and better known for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize and mediating in conflicts, including the Middle East and Sri Lanka.
One witness in Oslo, who spoke to the BBC and was identified only as Ella, said, "We are the good guys; stuff like this doesn't happen to us."
I tend to have these extremely bad headaches, though usually it will only be maybe 1-2 times a week. This past week and a half i've had a headache every day, lasting hours on end. Hurts too much, cant deal with it! So i went to my doctor and he said (what i and everyone else thought), that is was Migraines. Ugh. I wish migraines had a face so i could punch the hell out of it :]So, he prescribes some meds, which are working but take a while to kick in but still good enough. Doctor Billie wanted me to also get a brain CT, to rule out tumors and whatnot. So i went to the Hospital today to go get the CT, and of course it was going to cost me an arm. They wanted 500$ for the CT itself, and a 125$ service fee :/ So i think i'm just going to hope there is nothing lingering inside my head that was worth looking at, ya know? So i'm just going to keep to these meds and hope it helps :]
Also, the most amazing part of my day was going to Kims Tea House, i got the watermelon slurpee and it was the most amazing think ever. EVER.
I swear i finished it in like 30 minutes! i want another one!
Oh,and to explain the picture over there. Sometimes i get bored and i take pictures, i'm a girl, what can i say? I actually love that shirt up there, i cut the top up to it's one of those shoulder shirts that i love. And, i got that necklace for a freaking dollar :] I like deals lol. When i went to the tea house i brought my 10yr old nephew Antonio with me, and i realized while we were waiting there, talking about The Office and bands, that he is growing up! He is going to be in middle school this school year! Oh and he is as tall as i am haha, and he is getting taller too! I don't like this, he needs to be 5yrs old again. :p
He wants to be a professional skateboarder and wants to have his own brand of boards and clothes, this kid is pretty cool.
Well i'm still obsessing over my awesome indiana jones hat :] i freaking love it. I tried putting it on my 7month old nephew but every time i did he would try to look up at it and fall back haha it was cute. So, i finished another story! its called And So I Wait, so i'm hoping you like it. And it's a story where no one actually dies! Though i must admit, it has more of a 'trapped in your mind being emotionally tortured by what you cannot have' feeling. So, yeah. Go check it out, leave feedback in the comments area. Oh and its super short, so it wont take too long to get through :]
I haven't really been keeping up with my unfinished stories, i have a couple of them just waiting around on the computer and in my journal, but it's not writers block. I just have not been in the mood to sit down and let my mind wonder, ya know? And its not that i'm really stressed out or anything, though there are a few obstacles that have been thrown my way this month, i just feel sort of spaced out. Its all a bit weird. Finishing this story i think has brought me back down to earth! I feel the need to write again, i'm going to try to focus on 'Our Red Planet II', its going to be fantastic :]
So i have an awesome new hat
and i freaking love it!!
Its been a good weekend so far, friends birthday, we went to Sambucas for dinner, i had never been there but its somewhere in the deep pits of downtown Houston. It was pretty good! i had some shrimp cocktail and i ordered the margarita pizza haha i know, i'm just fancy that way ;] And there was a band playing, a cover band, and they were so awesome! The even played some Beatles songs! After dinner we went to a bar for drinks and i'm pretty sure in addicted to mojitos.
But of course i felt totally sick the next day :p
head pounding and everything lol
Today though feeling tons better, got some kims teahouse :] and movies later tonight
Oh, but today i noticed these self made fliers posted everywhere in my apartments so i stopped to read one. It said "WARNING!- The two names i cant remember- who live in these complex in APT 4902 break into other apartments and rob them! be careful! By-(name i cant remember)". So i went home and told my nephew about it who went out to go see it and found out it had been taken down. Well, i'm about to call the Apartment managers cause if someone steals my shit, i'm going to cut them.
So know what i also heard? That Casey Anthony ( lady who killed her little girl and got away with it) is goingto move to Houston. Pasadena to be exact.Fantastic. Funniest comment i heard about it though was "well, lets pull a Casey Anthony on Casey Anthony!" hhaha!
oh, and I decided to not be lazy and do i little vlog :]
I really need to get out and away from this city for a few days, though weeks would be preferred. Everything just seems so foggy here, its sort of like trying to run but your in quicksand :p If i could go far i would, but lo and behold i cant, but that ok. IF I could go anywhere though, it would defiantly be Ireland. I love the scenery, the weather, the nothing that you can find there just seems like it would be so overwhelmingly relaxing. Trying to take a breathe of fresh air here is impossible. You breathe in and all you smell is exhaust, stress, sweat and oh yes, some kind of fried food lingering in the air. God i need to leave this city.
this looks like a place you could breathe properly
well like the title says, happy fourth of july to all us Americans on the interwebs! and to the Brits, no hard feelings right? i mean, were cool yeh? were friends. i hope.
Im not really doing anything this fourth of July, not a lot of extra money to spend on fireworks, and i heard that here in Houston Texas it's banned,? Im not sure but we have been in a bit of a drought so it makes sense. So, im having some coffee, im watching Doctor Who and of course remembering how lucky i am to be here. Sure, America is not the best place ever. Like all countries we have murder, hate, intolerance and shit people but we also have tons and tons of freedoms, luxuries and rights that some don't. We have it pretty sweet here, its nice.
So, ive been checking my school account for my financial aid to be deposited. Im worried the book store will run out of the books i need, and i want to do it fast and get it done with (ahh that's what she said) but its taking forever.
This was my last fourth of july with JB and some friends