Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Analysis of Housekeeping and Parent Rights

I just finished Housekeeping, an intriguing novel that seems to read more like poetry than prose. It is the story of two orphaned girls, first raised by their grandma, then their great aunts, then their aunt.

The problem is their aunt is a transient who rides freight trains. Eventually, the younger sister goes off to live with a teacher, and live a "normal" life. The older sister, the narrator, is threatened by the locals to be forcibly removed from her aunt. Instead, they burn their house, and escape to the hobo life. The town assumes them dead.

In the book, the author talks of family togetherness. It is ultimately the government that force a terrible choice: break up the family, or become a drifter. It seems that too often this is the case with various government organizations. In trying to force people, they end up creating the very situation they were trying to avoid. In trying to help, they end up hurting.

I highly recommend the book for both it's artistry, and it's depth. However, it is a book that requires you take your time.