Growing up is complex, especially in a society with different cultural background. This is the major issue the novel “Looking for Alibrandi” discusses. A realistic view through the eyes of a seventeen-year old Italian girl, Josephine is presented. Josephine’s like many teenagers that have learned from their mistakes. This is the long road that everybody meets while growing up.
Learning to become an adult has many different responsibilities and every teenager has to deal with these issues. Once they pass a certain age different responsibilities have to be dealt with. Taking care of yourself is necessary before you can begin to help others. Most teenagers have to know what they want. In reference to “Looking for Alibrandi” Josephine had trouble taking her responsibilities seriously. Either being a school captain for example, on school sports day Josephine was supposed to look after a group of students but instead went to the city with her friends. Her goal in life was to become a lawyer and after getting a scholarship she tried everything to get good marks. However she did not know how to be mature in front of adults. She kept proving that she was immature by the way she acted with her parents, Sister Gregory, grandmother and her boyfriend. By the end of the novel Josephine reflects on the way she has acted throughout the year and why she has acted that way.
The relationships within a family influence the way a young person grows up. Children who grow up without either parent will lack part of their growing up.
For instance a male growing up without a father misses out on male companionship. Without a mother he will lack a part of his caring side. On the other hand a daughter growing up without her mother will miss the neutering and caring side, basically a mothers love. If she where to grow up without a father she would have a confusing time trying to relate to most men and the protection of a father around.
In Josephine Alibrandi’s case she never knew what it was like to have a father around. In some parts of the novel she recounts the time when she felt he was needed most.
There is the conflict between the Italian cultural traditions and values compared to the Australian way of life. Growing up can be difficult and confusing trying to adapt from one culture to another.
In European families there are unspoken rules that all the kids try to abide by. This can be difficult for someone to learn to fit in with.
For instance Josephine had troubles feeling free as her course of actions reflected on her grandmother. She loved being Italian and would never change that but at the same time she tried to reject her culture.
Committing suicide is giving up on life, this happens around the world everyday, young and old. Some people cannot handle the pressure of what they have to live for. So they take their own life.
Dealing with this type of tragedy makes young people grow in a short period of time. They think they see what the future holds for them and give up to early. After young teenager dies, adult’s thinks it’s selfish as they have cut their life short and have not dealt with the pressures and joys of adulthood. Close friends feel guilty, as they don’t realize their friend needed help. Teenagers that seem to have everything are spoiled and think its right for them to take their own life. It also works the same way for kids that grew up with nothing instead of trying to make something out of them self they think it wont matter if they take their own life.
Josephine’s friend John Barton is one of those people. This made her realise life is important and her troubles are small. That can be easily resolved with friends and family around. John didn’t have those people, his life was set out for him by his family, even his friends didn’t see the sings of his depression. The only way he really felt free was to die where no one could control him.
In conclusion teenagers develop their own personality while growing up. The novel was an excellent portrayal of the life of a typical teenager living in the 1990’s. The main character Josephine has many difficulties understanding who she is. At the end of the novel she realises her attitude and understands how to take responsibilities for herself.