Story of My Life 3 – On Families, Craziness and Zazu.
Just a few days ago I finished reading the latest installment of Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaway series: Tempt Me At Twilight, and it got me thinking about family. The series revolves around the Hathaway family; a bunch of eccentric but lovable people, and it got me thinking about my own family. Having grown up in a large, embarrassing and extremely close-knit family, I understand eccentric families, and I appreciate reading about them in a more or less realistic fashion.
The Hathaways are particular favorites of mine. Usually when you read about eccentric families is in a cartoon-like way, with the families serving just to humiliate our normality-seeking protagonist and mortifying said protagonist no end. The heroine must learn to overcome her family’s oddities and break away from them; the hero must learn to love the heroine in spite of said family. It’s a common enough plot, especially in Y.A. Fiction, few authors – like Melina Marchetta or Mariah Fredericks – write realistic family life without judging or preaching.
The reason why I love the Hathaways is because, yes, they are eccentric – they discuss any and all topics, they argue with each other, had an unconventional upbringing where the girls were taught that they were equal to the boys (something quite unusual in England during the 18oo’s), and one of the sisters, Bea, adopts any and all animals that come her way and when she gets stresses kleptomania gets the best of her- but they love each other.
My family is a bit like that, eccentric and loving at the same time. I have gossipy aunts and insufferable uncles and branches of the family that I’m not at all close to, but with the ones I AM close to, it’s great. Sure, we embarrass each other, and it’s a sheer act of courage to bring a boyfriend home since one of my uncles like to interrogate them, another makes fun of them and my aunts like to say ‘indelicate’ things in front of everyone, and we also have a fondness of discussing our many medical maladies with each others. We hold each other through thick and thin. We are different and clash and are each other’s pains in the behind but, in the end, we belong to each other.
And, as for annoying relatives, in the words of Zazu from the Lion King: “There is one in every family, two in mine”