Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

by Garry Kilworth

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:51 am

What do you think of the author’s portrayal of blended families? Why do think he chose the characters he did?
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:33 pm

Guess I will nervously start this off today. :perplexed:
I am not from a blended family so not having lived in that situation I can only offer what I observe.
Blended families offer many challenges - the adults that marry are in love and want their life complete. Bringing children into this does not begin with love between the children so it therefore must grow.
I think the author portrayed the blended familes well by showing one - (Ben & Dippa) that was beginning to work and grow and the other (George & Jane) that was being torn apart. Perhaps there was some jealousy in Jane for the attention that Geo was giving his children.
This is all speculation on my part. Looking forward to other ideas. Help!

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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby trygirl » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:47 pm

As ladylinn said, the author did a good job showing the difficulties of trying to blend a family. On the one hand you have Ben and Dipa's new family trying hard to make it all work, and George's kids given up without really giving Jane a chance. I think he chose such different characters to demonstrate that not all roads to being "one happy family" are like Chloe's, some end up like Sarah. But each requires a certain amount of diligence on the part of the new spouses and the new children. I think he's also showing that it's not easy to walk into a family alone. Ben has Jordy but George's new wife is doing it on her own. There's not a soul to confide in about her new home.
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby gemini » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:32 pm

I am sort of a fish out of water here, like ladylinn I have not experienced this myself. I do have several relatives that had blended families and although they survived, the words step mom and step dad never seemed to be warm descriptions. Sometimes the new spouse sees the children as a reminder that someone was there before them and the children see the new parent as someone interfering with their own parents love. When there are new children sometimes the feeling is even worse.

With Chloe both parents brought children so it was more balanced. Sarah's family seemed to be more unbalanced with the new mother as the outsider. I think Garry tried to show two cases of family situations for comparison. Since blended families seem to be on the rise these days , it may be a good thing to put in a children's story. Better then Ciinderella and the wicked step mother.
Last edited by gemini on Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby Bix » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:07 pm

I think the children's blended family was written very nicely. I like that Garry lets them express their doubts and worries about each other. I like that the kids really think about their obligation to their parents and each other not to be selfish at a time when they are trying to become a cohesive family.

I don't know if now is the time to bring this up, but I assumed right away that Dipa, Chloe and Alex, even if they were born in Britan, are of Indian descent and Ben and Jordy aren't. I guess I thought that because Dipa is an Indian name and because both kids have thick glossy dark hair. Anyway, my point is that there might have been other cultural differences for them all to get used to, but that was never even brought up in any way, which is as it should be. (I hope I didn't totally misread that aspect.)
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:09 pm

well, I'll give you all a laugh...I went on a tangent about the ethnic "blends"...then realized no, no...we're discussing modern day families!! I even speculated Garry chose from his close friends,i.e., curry night with a couple he knows. so, I think the issue is being well handled...Thanks all!!

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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby Liz » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:00 pm

Very insightful answers so far! I think Garry was very realistic in his portrayal of blended families, although, I can’t say that I’ve experienced one. And not only does he portray families with different attitudes toward the idea but also different blends of cultures/nationalities. I think it was pretty obvious that Dipa & kids were Indian. I assumed that Ben and Jordy were not, but I don’t think it is clear. But I think it was good that he showed a blended ethnic family, playing down that point, as Bix pointed out.

gemini wrote:I think Garry tried to show two cases of family situations for comparison. Since blended families seem to be on the rise these days , it may be a good thing to put in a children's story. Better then Ciinderella and the wicked step mother.

Yes! I think that it was a wonderful story for children and teenagers to read about blended families—good for children of blended families and children who are friends of blended families.
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:48 pm

I thought it was a very accurate reflection of today's world and one many kids could relate too in a positive way. Families that are blended genealogically and culturally, some working well together and some having problems but finding their way. Well done! :cool:
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Re: Attica Question #17 ~ Blended Families

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:57 pm

Like most of the rest of you, I don't have first hand experience with blended families except that DS3 has two stepdaughters from his wife's previous marriage. I have watched them do a very delicate balancing dance, and they seem to have achieved a really nice family life .

On the other hand, I worked with a woman who had 6 children between herself and her husband and the whole family dynamic seemed extremely chaotic. :yikes: I have been endlessly amazed by this woman's tales of blended family life.

I think that Garry did a good job giving the two scenarios of what a blended family can be like, including the sympathetic viewpoints of several of the characters from second wife to children. However, I thought making the main family a marriage of two professional people where the wife is the main breadwinner made it unnecessarily complicated and perhaps a bit unrealistic for what most children have to deal with. Adding the India heritage made it even more intricate. It worked in this story, but I wonder if it was as helpful to young readers as a more typical family might have been.


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