Family Likeness


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Definition of family resemblance. Learn More about family resemblance. Advertising itself as an autobiography — the title-page of the first edition reads Jane Eyre: An Autobiography edited by Currer Bell — it draws generically also on romance and quest narrative, fairy tale, the gothic novel, and the Bildungsroman. Densely allusive, it reflects its author's familiarity with the Bible, Milton and Shakespeare, and with works as diverse as Pilgrim's Progress and The Arabian Nights. Though recently it has claimed the interest of feminist scholars for its focus on marital abuse and child custody, it has, in the one-hundred-and-fifty years since its publication, been neither well known nor well loved.

Its dual narrative — the heroine's private diary framed by letters from her second husband to his brother-in-law — is often considered clumsy; its subject — a bad marriage and its consequences — depressing or uncongenial. The novel's frame of reference is religious rather than psychological; the Bible its most frequently quoted text. The heroine of The Tenant endures the degrading ordeal of her first marriage with piety and stoicism, trying to remain focused on doing her duty as she worries about her abusive husband's tainting and corruptive influence, even on herself.

Only when she judges that maternal supersedes wifely duty does she flee him, abducting her child and hiding out in a distant county. The temperature of these texts, metaphorically speaking, is very different. Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection. Login Alert. Log in. Either way, this was not the book for me.

It follows the story of Muriel Grey, the daughter of a white Englishwoman and an African American soldier stationed in England during the war. This only becomes easier to discern about halfway through.

Family Likeness - ISIS Publishing

Basically, Mrs Grey is an orphaned child that only wants to be good. Because of racial prejudice and the slut-shaming of her mother, she is never told that she is. Meanwhile, in the present day, Rosie takes a nanny job at a swanky North London pad. She's babysitting the two children of Jonas, a man who has his own secrets.

A Family Likeness

Or does he? And for an all-black cast, there is actually little discussion of race and how it intersects with their lives -- unless they're talking about Muriel's past. Maybe it's because the white author felt like it wasn't her place to discuss these issues, but that just leaves me wondering why she chose the subject in the first place. I did like the parts about Dido Elizabeth Belle, the woman in an oil painting whom Rosie feels a strange affinity with and decides to investigate: It's a great painting isn't it?

And not just because it has Draco Malfoy in it. At times I thought it was going to be a horror story, complete with haunting, reincarnation and madwomen in attics. Nine-year-old Ella seems slightly twisted -- bullying her cousin, killing her brother's guinea pig, and keeping a rucksack ready in the hallway in order to run away from home at the drop of a hat. Mrs B the housekeeper seems like a shifty character too, I thought that her secretive behaviour would be masking ulterior motives. Spoiler alert: none of this comes to fruition.

One can't help but feel that as a mystery novel, 'Family Likeness' doesn't add up to the sum of its parts. I received my review copy through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I liked the story of Muriel, it was touching. Jul 15, Emma rated it liked it Shelves: books-for-book-club. This was a book picked by my monthly book club, at first I was a bit dubious as to whether I would like it or not. At first I found the story a bit slow to get into, but by about a quarter of the way in I was loving it. I liked the difference of having the two stories running side by side with each other, and also like how neatly the author ties both sides of the story up at the end of the book.

Sep 26, Lisa rated it really liked it. A very thought provoking book which has issues at its core that resonate in today's society just as strongly as they did back in the fifties. Muriel is a 'half-caste' which, on her children's home admission report is classed as a 'physical defect'. From the second you read that you can imagine the pain, confusion and the poor treatment that mixed race children felt and received in the post-war years, all because of the colour of their skin. Muriel is 5 when her white mother takes her to the branch A very thought provoking book which has issues at its core that resonate in today's society just as strongly as they did back in the fifties.

Muriel is 5 when her white mother takes her to the branch home and promises to come back for her. That promise is never kept and Muriel's life is one of confusion as she tries to fit in with the other children in the home; children whose mother's do come back for them, who are fostered and adopted as Muriel wonders why nobody wants her.

Always aware that she is different Muriel leaves the branch home, goes to college and then to work - not for her university and dreams of studying English. She marries and has a child then sadly loses her husband. Throughout her life Muriel takes what life gives her and makes the most of it for her daughter's sake.

Only once does she try to find her mother, an attempt that comes to nothing but Muriel doesn't need that now, she doesn't want to open old wounds and she is happier not knowing things about her past. Rosie is Muriel's daughter. She is the one who wants to know and when she discovers the name of Muriel's father, she cannot help herself and tracks down the whereabouts of her Grandfather.

Rebuffed, she is determined to make him acknowledge who her mother is and what he did in abandoning her. Her investigations take her to Jonas Murrey who lives in London, like Rosie. By putting herself in his way and being there at the right time Rosie is offered a job as nanny to his children, a position that makes it easy for Rosie to get what she wants A fascinating account of the surge in mixed race babies in the post war years and how they and their mothers were treated, how the relationships between black GI's and white girls was frowned upon and actively discouraged and how this led to buried resentments and secrets that were passed along generation to generation.

Muriel's records of her time at the Branch home give insight into how it must have been for a child of her race at that time and make for very sympathetic reading. How the army dealt with the issue of mixed relationships is quite shocking and yet the looking down upon mixed relationships still goes on today more than 60 years later.

It is certainly food for thought. It was interesting how, although Muriel was happy not to know about her past and was almost reconciled to it, Rosie the daughter felt an overpowering need to know and was extremely indignant at the way her mother had been treated; how opinions and reactions change throughout the ages. All in all a very thoughtful and insightful book that certainly makes the reader think about our heritage, not just personal but as a country.

Not bad An ok read but nothing exceptional. Kept my attention but wasn't enthralled by the book. Interesting story line and easy to read and follow. There was something lacking in this book. Aug 10, Cleopatra Pullen rated it it was amazing Shelves: favourite This is a book which has all the ingredients mixed together to tell a great story. Muriel is of mixed race and just four years old. Rosie also narrates part of the book.

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Rosie has been a teacher at a cross-road in life. She gets herself employed as a nanny to a busy businessman who is travelling abroad leaving Rosie in charge of Ella and Bobby. Here is another mixed race child whose life was dictated by her colour. This is an interesting look at families of all shapes and sizes and although this is underpinned by the issue of colour there is far more to this story, this story applies to all families.

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