Mothers (was: Re: Baby Announcement)

Erica Sadun erica at
Thu Jun 29 12:20:22 EDT 2000

DWJ's writing stands out among others in part for her willingness to 
make parents into normal, fallable people with personal agendas and 
willful blindness. Many of her parenting situations include 
unhappiness and tragedy with children forced to make the best of a 
bad situation. In DWJ's worlds, parents are often selfish 
shortsighted people.  This sets up the situation for tension and the 
opportunity for adventure. (Was it Anna Karenina that had the famous 
"All happy families are alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its 
own way." line?) IMO, her narrative fails worst when she attempts to 
create a happy one-dimensional family situation. (Charmed Life) I 
loved Dark Lord of Derkholm where she created a loving, secure family 
yet still showed the foibles of the parents. (It also had one of the 
most powerful parent-child scenes I've ever read in the apparent loss 
of one of the children). In Fire and Hemlock, we even saw a father 
leaving his child on the streets rather than show backbone in front 
of his girlfriend. It is this sort of stark humanism that gives her 
writing so much strength and truth.

-- E
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