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Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

4 Pages 885 Words June 2018

In Melina Marchetta’s coming-of-age novel, Looking for Alibrandi, we see Josie confront many issues in several aspects of her life. These events shape her into the person she is at the end of the novel, showing considerable character development. The book, originally released in 1992, discusses topics that are present in most adolescents’ lives, the most present being the broad matter of identity. We follow Josie through dealing with her family and cultural identity, as well as see her mature socially and mentally as she deals with grief.
The prominent focus of Looking for Alibrandi is how Josie comes to terms with her family identity. Even from the title, we can see that she is trying to find whom ‘Alibrandi’ (herself) is, as the author suggests that Josie is looking for herself and finding her place in the world. She isn’t completely Italian, nor is she completely Australian, therefore finds it hard to confirm and is looking for where she belongs. This is clear when she says ‘It makes me feel I will never be part of their society and I hate that because I’m just as smart as they are’ (p8). Additional to this, her illegitimacy makes her feel like even more of an outcast, and must learn how to deal with her father coming back into her life, after being absent since before Josie was even born. Her parents aren’t married, which brings a lot of judgment from Italian mothers and her peers. However, by the end of the novel, she accepts her history and learns how to feel empathy for her father Michael. This is apparent when she reflects on what she’s learned from being different and says that she ‘love[s] Michael Andretti more and more every day’ (p259).
Additional to her family identity, Josie must also come to terms with her cultural identity. Melina Marchetta leads the reader through Josie’s journey of learning about her heritage and accepting it. Even from the start of the novel, it is obvious that she is fru...

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