03-14-2009 04:22 PM
I wasn't too shocked by the picture that was painted of the family. There was definite foreshadowing earlier in the book that Benji's family was not the perfect "Cosby" family.
Each family member was in their own orbit not truly interacting with each other on a day to day basis. Both boys try to avoid direct confrontation with their father.
Benji and Reggie used to share an orbit but are starting to drift apart. Some of this drifting is brought on by Benji himself who wants to redefine himself as just Ben instead of part of "Benji and Reggie".
Their mother also tries to avoid issues. I am not too shocked that she doesn't mention her children in her bulletted list since after her confrontations with her husband she is probably thinking more of the relationship between her and her husband than of the family as a whole.
03-16-2009 07:19 PM
This is the first time we see Benji's family together at Sag Harbor. Were you surprised by the picture we get of them?
I was very surprised by the picture of his family as I read more - the emotional abuse, and implied, but unsaid physical abuse of the father. Having worked in the DA's office for domestic violence in the past, it made me uncomfortable, but I totally understood Benji's reaction to his father yelling at his dad. I did wonder why he never stood up for his mom, but could see at his age, it was all about self preservation. I had to laugh once the father presented his 'wonderful' chicken and it was burnt to a crisp. Where all the neighbors aware of his temper and catered to him in order to have a fun, uneventful summer.
If Benji's position in his family is troubled, then Reggie is even more so. How do the boys cope with what goes on in the household? Reggie did what most kids would do at that age - stay out of the house as much as possible.
How does their mother cope? By appeasing the father. She had to do it in order to get along and keep not only herself safe, but hopefully the kids themselves. As long as none of them set him off, they were fine. I can only imagine what life was like for her during the week when they were back in the city.
The father was very opinionated and had I'm alway right attitude. He didn't seem very happy and the family walked on eggshells in order to get along.
03-16-2009 07:44 PM
I was surprised by how both parents act, especially with three children. No one seems to care, as long as you aren't getting in trouble and don't bring them into your happenings. Remember when neither parent noticed Benji's eye. They all avoid eachother. It is really sad. Benji and Reggie aren't alone, look at their friends. They all have broken families. It seems that everyone is so caught up in Sag Harbor, that no one is really looking at themselves or their families.