[DWJ] Best Books of 2006 (complete with silly categories, and much longer

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 2 13:28:40 EST 2007


 > 'Children of an orderly home will probably enjoy the chaotic family
 > life, where Rose can draw on the walls and eat porridge for a random
 > meal. But I am not sure that children from a dysfunctional background
 > will enjoy it at all.'

You know, it took me a while to realize what disturbed me about that quote - 
well, apart from the fact that I liked the books, but then I'm from a 
semi-orderly, fairly functional home, so what else can be expected? *g*

It's the way she lumps together "chaotic" and "dysfunctional", and though it 
isn't said straight out, "orderly" and "functional".

IMO, those are entirely different things. A family can be chaotic and 
dysfunctional, yes, but it can also be chaotic and functional, or orderly 
and dysfunctional. Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" comes to mind, 
where the chaotic Ekdahls are a lot more functional than the orderly 
Vergeruses. (Vergeri?)

If the children are allowed to eat porridge for dinner and draw on the walls 
because no one gives a flying fuck what they're doing, then clearly the 
family is dysfunctional. (And that seems to be the case not only in Time of 
the Ghost but in a whole lot of DWJ's books.) But if the parents are of the 
persuasion that it won't harm the children to eat porridge for dinner if 
that's what they want, and that big white walls are pretty much made to be 
drawn on, that's a different story. And that seems to me to be much more 
what the Cassons are into - though naturally they have flaws on top of that.

People are comfortable with different levels of chaos. Lord knows I would 
feel a lot more dysfunctional if I had to live in a house with clean floors, 
matching furniture and dinner at the same hour ever day, where you had to 
call your parents "sir" and "ma'am" and other adults "Mr." and "Mrs." And I 
don't even consider myself particularly chaotic. :-)

In short, I think DWJ's statement is probably true of kids who come from 
dysfunctional *and* chaotic homes, while kids from dysfunctional, orderly 
homes will probably adore the book and kids from functional, chaotic homes 
might be quite "So? I do that all the time!"

Katta

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