Thanks for the great discussion about whether or not you actually like Henry. Please feel free to continue it below. In the meantime, let’s also have a chat about the rest of what happened from pages 200 to 400…which raises a couple more interesting questions.
First up, what did you make of the Baby Punks? Early on in this section, Henry gets into a conversation about punk music with a couple of “Baby Punks” at a party. And he poses a question something along the lines of: Why do 14-year-olds express rebellion by embracing the fashion, the music—an entire movement—from long before they were even born? Why, indeed? Now, I’m not SO old, but I have to admit, I do think the same thing every time I see a 14-year-old with a green Mohawk, Goth makeup (yes, I know that’s mixing styles, but do they?), and multiple piercings. Then I decide that whatever way I look at it, I’m judging them and therefore being a fuddy duddy against whom my own kids will no doubt rebel. (By what? Wearing a neon Wham! T-shirt? Heaven help me.)
Secondly—and this is a major part of the story—the efforts of Henry and Clare to conceive: Six miscarriages would be an excruciating ordeal (to say the least) for anyone. But how hard would it be to continue when you knew there was also some mysterious genetic issue at play that was probably causing them? Interestingly, there was not a lot said, from Clare’s point of view, about why she was yearning to have her own child and wouldn’t, for instance, adopt. Yes, she wanted a piece of Henry to keep with her because he kept going away. But beyond that—and the numbing effect this all has on their relationship—the book doesn’t really explore her feelings, fears, motivation, and resolve. I wanted to hear much more from Clare here, but the plot kept motoring along. Henry appearing from the past to save the day was quite a twist, don’t you think?
So, two things I’d love to toss around with you all:
What do you think Niffenegger was getting at with the whole punk discussion? And how do YOU feel about it?
And . . .
What point—plot or otherwise—do you think she was trying to make by having Clare and Henry go through six miscarriages? Why do you think Clare was so determined to continue? Why was Henry determine to stop? What did you think of Past Henry impregnating Clare while Present Henry slept close by? (And, let’s face it, probably snored. Ok, that’s how I might have written it. But that’s why I don’t have a best-selling romantic novel.)
I’m thoroughly enjoying reading your thoughts on all of this. Please keep them coming. Invite your friends.
Let’s read to the end by Monday.
All the best,