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Mystic River Book Discussion

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
*** Spoiler Alert: If you have not read Mystic River or seen the movie, you may not want to read this thread. It will most likely give away major plot elements of both the book and the movie. ***

Well, it's November, and time to start discussing Mystic River. I know some people have written that they weren't able to get into the book and didn't finish it, but I hope there are others besides me that did.

Overall, I liked the book, but I also felt cheated in a way. LeHane skirted around some powerful emotional and moral questions in this book, but I really don't feel that he sunk his teeth into them the way he could have. I need to do a little more re-reading to discuss some of this in depth, but for example: he could have given us more insight into the demons that Dave was struggling with inside himself much earlier. Maybe the intent was to make us wonder and try to figure it out for ourselves, but I think Lehane missed an incredible opportunity to dig into the horrendous contradictions that must reside within a person who wants to be moral and good - a good husband and father - but finds himself with filled with repugnant impulses that go against everything that he knows to be right. I think Dave was such a tragic character, but I think Lehane wanted too badly to make us wonder if he was indeed the killer. And I don't know about anyone else, but I never saw Dave as committing that murder.

I have lots more to say, but will sign off for now to let others jump into the discussion.

What did everyone else think?
post #2 of 7
I'm still working on the book and skipped to the end to see what the heck was going on shhhh...don't tell anyone...

But thus far I agree also that I didn't see Dave as the killer and I did not appreciate his style of jumping back and forth between characters, it's not like a movie, where you can see the events unfold in front of your eyes, it's harder to keep in touch when reading. So many times I was flipping back to the beginning to see where these characters came from. I hope the movie does it justice, Clint Eastwood is usually a good writer, but I think the viewers will be disappointed with the ending. I know I was...
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Probably the biggest issue I had is this - I knew Ray was the killer from the beginning, because he had a motive. I usually can't figure out whodunnits very well, but I had this one down. Ray's brother, the only person he loved, was going to run away with Katie and leave Ray alone with his awful mother. Killing Katie would have given Brandon no reason to leave. I figured it was a gimme.

Then Lehane comes up with, well, they were bored and just killed her just to do it? No reason? It didn't feel right to me - and it required way too much coincidence (they just happened to be there, and it was Katie who just happened to come out, etc.) Nothing else in the book felt right about this just being a coincidentally random act. That type of crime can be written about well - Fort Apache, The Bronx is a good example - but it didn't seem right to me in this book.

I read a review of the movie, and the reviewer wrote that this is not a story about figuring out the crime, but about what this type of crime does to the people it touches, and a story about the relationships about husbands and wives. And I agree that that is more of what it was about than just, who killed Katie. But I still felt cheated by the end, and think that having a logical reason for the killing wouldn't have taken away from the other themes in the book.
post #4 of 7
I agree, the writer tried too hard to make us think that Dave was the killer. At first I thought it was Ray's brother, the one Katie was going to go to Las Vegas with - I can't remember his name
I felt bad for Dave - after what happened to him, he became a lost soul, and I felt very mad at Katie's father for killing him, because he had the chance to try his life all over again so that he could be with his son.
post #5 of 7
Yep the reason i stopped reading was the jumping around WAY too confusing.
post #6 of 7
I had no idea Ray was the killer. I tried to think back over the characters that were briefly introduced in the beginning and Ray just didnt put up a flag. Lehane tried too hard to make us think Dave was the killer, but then there would have not been a book. As for his demons, I dont think Lehane is the type of writer to get that deep into his characters. It seems like he leaves that up to us, to figure out whats really going on deep down and his job is to simply keep the story moving along.

I liked it, it wasnt too hard for me to follow and it was easy to keep turning the pages. This would not have normally been something I would have picked up, but I am glad it was made October's selection.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I hope I'm not coming across as not liking the book - I did like it quite a bit. I just found myself wishing Lehane had delved a little deeper into the psyches of the characters.

What did you guys think of Dave's wife (I can't remember her name right now) telling Jimmy she thought Dave killed Katie, knowing that Jimmy would kill him? And then later being angry at him for doing so, when he probably wouldn't have done it at all if she hadn't gone to him?
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