We all play a specific role in family dynamics whether we admit to it or not. Surviving the landscape of competitive family relationships, overcoming disappointment and jealousy is like walking on a minefield. You are placed by birth order in a position to control, submit, surrender, or dominate and some accept this as destiny while others break out and completely upset the familial apple cart.
Keats Sedlak has always filled her role as destiny preordained but now she is watching her family meltdown as her parent parents’ divorce, her father’s mortality becomes very apparent, and the family home goes on the selling block. Keats has always had to live up to unattainably high standards with academic parents and siblings that blow her intellectually out of the water but this is perhaps one shove too many. Everyone seems to know what Keats should be doing with her life, and what will fulfill her need for growth personally. They tell her constantly that the man she has been with for 10 years is not good enough for her and their relationship a tad creepy since he is five years older and they started dating when she was 15 stunting her ability to explore other relationships.
Keats has spent her life searching for something to fill the void that distant parents and self-consumed siblings were never able to while at the same time make her own achievements, not an easy task. She thought her boyfriend had taken over her emotional losses but now everything has the potential to be flushed down the toilet and Keats is deciding what stays and what is gone.
If you stand still long enough and do not physically remove yourself from the situation you are in everything will remain as much the same as it does change. You have to be prepared for the ramifications and Keats thinks she is as she prepared to make major life-altering decisions that will affect everyone and not all of them in a positive fashion. So as Keats learns to accept her mother as a single woman on the prowl, her father’s judgmental assessments, and her siblings’ self-effacing personalities she is also ready to accept the fear and loneliness that comes from decisions and alterations to life’s grand scheme of things.
This is a well-written book with a fine-tuned sense of how complicated your family dynamics are and points out you are stuck with them forever so deal with it. You cannot rewrite the past, make your parent act less crazy, or walk away from any of their crap regardless of how many times you try. Everyone else’s life looks normal and so much better than yours when you are on the sidewalk looking in watching them decorate the Christmas tree. You have to make your presence known and accept your role but also expand your existence and at some point put the baggage on wheels. It will be much easier to carry around and on occasionally dump off, I know of what I speak.
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