Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

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The novel “Looking for Alibrandi” is a realistic portrayal of teenagers’ lives in the contemporary Australia. The author Melina Marchetta has portrayed her teenager characters in ways, which engage with the contemporary Australian teenagers. In this critical response, it will examine different kinds of relationships of the teenagers in this novel, the friendship, love relationship, and expectations from the family.

The friendship been portrayed in this novel is a realistic portrayal of the teenagers’ lives in contemporary Australia. The central character Josie and her friends Sera, Anna and Lee are the example of realistic friendship. They are very good friends with each other, although there were a few minor arguments between Josie and Sera because of the different concepts they have, but they still managed to get along pretty well. They have done some crazy things together; they went to visited a famous band’s lead singer at the Sebel Town House during the school annual walk-a-thon, because they thought that singer was the most gorgeous guy in the world. This is very realistic with Australian teenagers; teenage girls always fancy towards their favourite idol or the hot-looking guys. Their friendship is very trustworthy and protective. “We tend to mother her a lot, and if we’re ever in a risky situation, like being squashed at a concert or terrorized by the students of Cook High, Anna’s the first person we try to protect.” (P19) This quote shows that they always try to protect Anna because they know she is a very nervous person. There are many Australian teenagers who like to hang out with their own groups of friends and help their friends if needed, just like Josie’s group in this novel.

The love relationship in this novel is realistic compared with contemporary Australian teenagers. Josie’s relationship with Jacob Coote is a good example. Josie has really fallen in love with Jacob because it was her first true love. She has really enjoyed the moment she spends with Jacob. They have kissed, hugged, shared their feelings and almost have sex as well. Like many teenagers during their relationship they have lots of arguments with each other, because of the totally different cultural background and totally different views they have towards life. “This is why it’ll never work between us, Jacob. We live two different lives and you can’t understand that. Why can’t you understand my life? Things aren’t as easy as they are for you.

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The expectations from the family in this novel are also realistic to the contemporary Australia. John Barton’s death is the best example of a teenager being the victim of the expectations from his family. His family background is all politicians and this is why John has enormous pressure from his father. John cannot fail; he must always achieve the best. John couldn’t bear this kind of pressure anymore, so he decided to end his precious life by suicide. That way he is free but it also makes all the people around him felt very sad. In the contemporary Australia, this kind of pressure from the family does exist. There are many Asian parents do expect their child to be the best as they can achieve, so they don’t feel shameful when they go back to their own country. Also, some of the teenagers can not handle this kind of pressure, so they decided to find a way to get away from those pressures, like suicides, hanging around with gangs and taking drugs.

The novel “Looking for Alibrandi” is a realistic portrayal of teenagers’ lives in the contemporary Australia. Teenager’s friendship, love relationship, and expectations from the family in this novel have been portrayed in the realistic way compare with the contemporary Australian teenagers. I think this novel is worth a read because the author gives the reader a clear description of what the Australian teenagers are like.
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