Akhil Sharma 's novel Family Life follows Ajay, a young Indian boy, and his family as they immigrate to America and navigate the hardships of living together in a new country. When senseless tragedy strikes, his brother, Birju, is left with irreparable brain damage and requires constant care. This new strain weighs on the family and young Ajay, who does his best to cope with the struggles of adolescence and his tense home life. As the title would imply, family is a huge theme within Family Life. All other themes and aspects pushed aside, the novel presents the portrait of a family- an imperfect one, but a family all the same. In the story 's depiction of Ajay and his family, there are many universal statements about what living as a family meant and how it stays with us long after we have gone our separate ways. Each member of Ajay 's family is a cog in a much larger machine, coming together to create their own dynamic. Yet, at the same time, each of them is characterized far beyond just their role of "father" or "mother" or "brother"- They have their own complex emotions and individual issues to wrestle with. By examining each of these and how they all come together to create a unique family dynamic, we can begin to understand how and why it affects Ajay.
A child 's mother is, most often, the most important figure in their young lives and by far their biggest influence. Ajay 's mother is no exception to this. From the beginning of the book, she is portrayed as hardworking and dedicated to both of her sons, taking care of them diligently and being quite loving. She puts their wellbeing above everything, as seen in her willingness to abandon her comfortable life in India for the chance to give the two boys better opportuni...
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...ctable circumstances, but there has to be a better way so that children like him do not spend their adulthoods healing from their childhoods. The novel demonstrates that family life is not perfect, and it was never meant to be. A family is a group of unique, complex individuals (who may or may not even get along) who find themselves bound together. While we may leave our families, our experience with them never leaves us; we carry that with us through the rest of our lives. Furthermore, every family has hurt and sadness within it- dark things that we all share in common, yet are reluctant to discuss out of shame that there was something wrong with our family all those years. It is nearly impossible to read Family Life without examining our own. The novel cuts deep into the heart of those family situations and experiences that characterize lives, for better or worse.
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