MCMLS Mitchell Fiction Book Club discussion

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Unsheltered > Sibling Relationships

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Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
What family dynamics might have made Tig and Zeke so different and combative, while Jorge and his siblings are close and supportive?


message 2: by Michele (last edited Jun 08, 2020 10:15PM) (new)

Michele (mlbose) | 115 comments This is an interesting question. Jorge and his siblings grew up in Vineland (for the most part) in a single parent home. They experienced the loss of their elder brother, they have a cousin with a developmental disability and Jorge had his first job at age 8. They certainly didn’t have a “sheltered” childhood. These circumstances could have caused them to lean on each other and count on each other as other siblings may not need to. As Willa said they are “a big, loyal household of parentless siblings holding it all together”.

Tig and Zeke, on the other hand, appear to be natural opposites. From their physiques to their political and social opinions and everything in between. Willa remarks they have been fighting since they could talk. Also, they grew up in a household where their parents didn’t really encourage them to be kind to one another. Willa reveals she “failed” to teach Zeke to be protective of Tig. In addition, Willa outright admits Zeke is her favorite and that Iano has always been dismissive of Tig. A recipe for sibling rivalry.


Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
I agree...parenting definitely had an influence on their relationships. My step-siblings were placed in unhealthy competitive situations most of their childhoods, and they do not even speak now.


message 4: by Michele (new)

Michele (mlbose) | 115 comments I’m sorry about your step siblings. Such a tough situation.


Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
Thanks. They're adults now, so they have to work it out, but it is unfortunate. I also wanted to point out what you said about Jorge's siblings. Since they obviously had a rough childhood, one could say that this is another instance of the author shining light on what it means to be "unsheltered." I totally missed that! Great insight.


message 6: by Katie (new)

Katie | 56 comments I missed Michelle's point about Jorge and his sibs being unsheltered until you highlighted it, Molly!
I felt Willa was too forgiving of both her children and her husband. We all make mistakes as parents but you have to pull it together and move forward. I guess I'm reacting as the responsible child with 2 enabled siblings.
Which brings me to Willa being Unsheltered in her marriage.


Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
Oh yeah, Willa's marriage really bothered me. To me, she seemed unmoored, unsheltered, and largely unaffected by his cheating, his lack of provision, his obliviousness... She just sailed happily along, being the one who fixed everything, sacrificed everything, etc. Did anyone else find this unrealistic?


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