SCPL Online NonFiction Book Club discussion

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
One day we'll all be dead... > Family & Anxiety

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by SCPL (new) - added it

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
At the beginning of the book, Scaachi does not hold back and waste time with introductions, explanations or thoughtful quotes (with exception to her father's emails), she jumps immediately into the fray with an intense discussion about her own experiences with anxiety and irrational fears. As is the theme throughout this book, many of her thoughts and experiences stem from, or are connected to, her parents. She writes, "When you're a kid, your parents are the bravest people in the world, but my parent's provenance still feels impossibly brave to me."

Scacchi's parents immigrated to Canada before she was born, moving from a country with less-than-ideal conditions to Canada, a place that is relatively secure. Her parents took on the challenges and risks afforded to them in a new country and did not only survive- but thrived! Scaachi, however, writes that her parents have been very fearful people, worried to let their daughter walk to the store alone, fly, take the subway or try new foods and that they have passed that undercurrent of fear to her.

Scaachi now calls her parents every day in order to make sure they are, and confirm she is, safe, alive and healthy.

From what you've read so far in this book about Scaachi's parents, what's your take on the family dynamics?

Do you have a history of immigration in your family? How has that reflected in your family relationships?

Nicole | 3 comments Hello!

I am looking forward to discussing this book. It was a quick and funny read but powerful and insightful as well.

Scaachi definitely jumps right in and I identify with her opening line: "only idiots aren't afraid of flying", haha. I am willing to fly to get to a destination but I do not enjoy it.

The fact that her parents were willing to emigrate from India to Canada tells me that they are brave - you have to be brave to make such a life changing decision. It's interesting how they are so fearful. I think for her Mom and Dad, sudden parental loss is a major cause of their fear and anxiety. I have thankfully not experienced this type of loss but I can understand why they would then be so concerned about their daughter's well being as a result.

In terms of a history of immigration, both of my Dad's parents were immigrants from (the former) Czechoslovakia. I'm trying to place how the immigrant experience has affected my family. My great grandparents started with very little and made a great life for themselves and their children. There were times when 3 generations were living together and that almost guarantees closeness. My Great Grandma's house was always the place to be for any family event and my Dad went there every Sunday as a child. I've never really thought about how my Dad and his parents were influenced by the immigrant experience but I'm sure they were in many ways!

message 3: by SCPL (new) - added it

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Hi Nicole - thank you so much for your comments!

I think you're absolutely right - Scaachi does attribute her parents' constant fear for her safety to losing parents in a short period of time. It's really amazing what strength a person can draw from a parent, as well as a dependence on them, even as adults! My initial thought when reading this portion of the book was how unhealthy this relationship between parent and child - primarily based on fear - might be. Passing on that negative perspective to their daughter and possibly their granddaughter ("Raisin") would definitely be debilitating. However, later on Scaachi does note that her parents were beginning to take risks again and even took a trip to Cuba, much to their daughter's chagrin!

I always love hearing stories about people's histories and what made them end up where they are. As you mentioned, Nicole, close family relationships seem to play an important role in immigration stories. All of my grandparents were immigrants and 3/4 came from the Netherlands. I think the experiences and wisdom that were passed down to their grandchildren was to work hard and to go out to achieve what you want - you can't just expect success to land in your lap!


Heidi Madden | 118 comments This book and I got and I got off to a really bad start so I really appreciate the comments here. I think it was the “only idiots aren't afraid of flying” line that got to me. I *LOVE* flying. I love everything about it and I am not tolerant of fearful people. I know that’s a fault of my own but at least I own it.

The fearfulness of Scaachi’s parents (which obviously is justified by their own experiences) bothered me. I didn’t find it funny. I found it annoying. Marcella used the term “unhealthy relationships” and I very much agree with that.

In time it seems like the book gets better and there are some funny parts but maybe I’m just not connecting with the initial “isn’t the immigrant/Indian/Kashmiri culture funny-because-its-different vibe” of the book. The part about shopping though? *Totally* get that LOL

Back to the question - Do you have a history of immigration in your family? How has that reflected in your family relationships? - yes my maternal grandparents immigrated from Germany following the Second World War. They were very thankful to be here and did their best to fit in. They recognized they had overcome a lot and they embraced their new country. My paternal lines date back to immigration from England in the early 20th century and Ireland in the late 18th century so you have the reverse idea of “always” being here which causes its own issues and racism. I very much identify with the “settler colonial” Canadian experience so, while I am annoyed by the “fearfulness” that Scacchi focuses on in her parents, I am trying to appreciate this viewpoint.

message 5: by SCPL (new) - added it

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Hi Heidi - thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about your initial impressions!

I'm feeling like we're on the same page here. I'm more of a soft introductions type of gal myself, with the details of the setting outlined. But I'm pretty sure Scaachi doesn't share my views - if the content of her book is an actual reflection of her personality! She's more like a "rock 'em shock 'em" type of writer. Though sometimes I wonder how much of her writing is a more boisterous portrayal of herself and the *real* Scaachi is more low key. Perhaps I'll include a video so we can find out!

Thanks so much for sharing some of your family history! I'm very sure that personal stories play a role in how people adapt to a new life in a new country but I sometimes wonder how much these adaptive abilities also have to do with one's nationality and cultural background. I'm sure there's some sort of study out there but the constant shift of social norms and intensified globalization probably make it difficult to keep those studies current!


back to top