Looking for Alibrandi

The novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ points out aspects, like multiculturalism, immigration, social differences, but also love, friendship and family life. It explores relationships between Josie Alibrandi, Jacob Coote and John Barton through their family cultures and backgrounds. The Alibrandi family has big impacts on Josie as an individual, John Barton’s family impacts him as well although differently.

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Josephine Alibrandi’s relationship with her family has its highs and lows. Josie’s family impacts her as an individual in different ways and makes Josie feel suffocated by her family and religion. Josie and Jacob are in a strong relationship and Josie’s family culture as a ‘wog’ controls her love life and friendship life, and restricts her from going to places. “I’ll run one day. Run for my life. To be free and think for myself…I’ll run to be emancipated.”

The relationship between Josie and John changes in various ways at different stages. Through this relationship Josie discovers more about what is important in life and learns to accept herself for who she is. As years pass, she and Nonna develop a connection the leads to Nonna Katia revealing a big family secret that has a huge impact on the Alibrandi family’s name. John Barton’s family impacts him in a different way.

He feels controlled and cannot express his own dreams and desires. John’s father, a very successful Politian and highly encourages John to follow his steps. His father impacted on John’s life and made John feel weak and pressured to satisfy his father. He soon realized he wasn’t going to be able to meet his father’s expectations. He became depressed but tried to cover it up but the pressure became too much to contain and decides to take his own life. “There’s nothing to look forward to any more if you don’t have dreams,” he said.

“Because dreams are goals and John might have run out of goals”. Josie and John are best friends, but Josie wants more than that. Josie sees John as an upper class man, charming and everything she ever wanted in a guy. John also likes Josie, but he has mixed feelings between Josie and Ivy. Josie wants to be in the same law class as John but he isn’t allowed to choose what course he wants to study in because he is under repetitive pressure from his dad. Jacob Coote lost his mum so this impacts him as he has no one to comfort him and take him through struggles in his life.

He is relaxed and doesn’t care about his grades at school. Until he meets Josie and becomes jealous of her knowledge and realises that school is important. She makes him want to do something with his life. “I feel like such a failure when I’m around you and I hate myself for that. I need to work things out. Decide what I want out of life”. Jacob is jealous of John because Josie has strong feelings towards John.

In ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ every characters family shows some impact on them as individuals. It explores Josie Alibrandi feeling suffocated by her family and culture and her different feelings towards Jacob and John. Jacob Coote changed his life from bad to something that was useful and John Barton’s impact was from his father’s pressuring into something he didn’t want to do. People deal with family impact in different ways. In this case Josie and Jacob dealt with it in a way that can work through it and not give up but John gave it up. He stopped fighting.