Describe at least one relationship that was important in the text. Explain how the relationship helped you to understand one or more characters in the text.
In the novel Looking for Alibrandi written by Melina Marchetta, an important relationship is the one between Josephine Alibrandi and Michael Andretti. Josie is the daughter of Michael Andretti and Christina Alibrandi. Josie has been raised by her mother in Australia, although her Italian grandmother has a strong influence of Italian culture in her life. Throughout the year Josie grows to be a mature young woman, with her and her father’s relationship having a strong influence on her coming of age.
When we first meet Josie she has no relationship with Michael (her father), she has never met him and knows little about him. She feels as though it is not important to her to have him as a father figure in her life; however she is constantly concerned about her ‘illegitimacy’. Josie’s previous opinions on her relationship with Michael change, when she attends the same barbeque as him, and makes the decision to confront him. This confrontation takes place at her grandmother’s barbeque after Josie overhears a conversation between Michael and her beloved mother. After arguing Josie and Michael come to an agreement “A promise. You keep out of my life, I keep out of yours”. This quote illustrates how neither of them are willing to make compromises in their own lives, for their potential relationship. When Josie agrees to this she is not being completely honest, as she would actually quite like to see Michael again. Josie’s uncivil approach to this situation shows us her lack of maturity and communication skills . It shows us how she is very stubborn and inconsiderate of Michael, as in this situation she is only concerned with how their relationship could affect her.
Josie blossoms as her father-daughter relationship with Michael continues to grow throughout the year. This is due to a few main events, but in particular their Pizza date after Josie’s catastrophe of a date with Jacob Coote. Josie and Michael have their first heart-to-heart honest conversation; Michael explains his fears of being a father to Josie. “I want to be honest. I would have rather life to have gone on the way it was going. I feel too old to be a father. I don’t want you to be misled about how I feel about you. I’m not sure if I can love you ever, but I want to know you. I want to be part of your life… because if I pretend you don’t exist, you still won’t go away”. This quote showcases the importance of communication and honesty. Michael is being very honest with Josie, and she is tolerant of him. Instead of acting out emotionally she listens carefully to what he has to say and considers his perspective on things. This contributes to Josie’s shift in personality from being selfish to selfless. They discuss Michael’s fears amongst other things, and learn a lot about each other. They both come to the realisation that they can communicate well and enjoy one another’s company when they’re not fighting.
Towards the end of the novel Josie and Michael have formed a strong bond. The death of Josie’s dear friend John, brings them closer together, and puts Michael’s fathering skills to the test. After Josie receives the terrible news of John’s death, Michael is the first person she turns to. Michael is very supportive of her and listens to what she has to say, although he has never had to deal with an incident like this before. “Josie I would rather die than ever see