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“Looking for Alibrandi” was written by Melina Marchetta. The novel confonts many issues facing todays society every day, it is especially focussing on a teenagers view of growing up and what they have to deal with. Josephine Alibrandi is the main character and throughout the novel she confronts many different issues which are very realistic in todays society, this makes her very easy for the reader to relate to and makes Josie seem much more realistic. The reader is able to relate to the kind of relationships Josie has throughout the novel and how she interacts within them. There is also the fact that Josie is from an Italian family therefore their beliefs and customs are different to the people around her. The reader can also learn some insight on how cultures are different yet everyones beliefs must be respected.


There are certain issues throughout the novel that have been deliberately included to show certain aspects of Josies personality which make her more realistic to the reader. When she first meets her father, she shows anger towards him. Which is expected because he never bothered to try and contact her throughout her entire life, which made her not want to know him. But eventually she began to love him and by the end of the novel she changes her last name to his, all to feel more like his daughter and it shows how happy she is to finally have her father in her life. There are also many times when her ‘teenager’ side comes through, her irresponsibility and her curiousity to try new things. There is the time when she is supposed to be looking after the last of the younger students who are doing the annual school walk-a-thon, but her friends want to leave school to go into the city to hopefully see Trey Hancock, a singer in a band they like. Josie gives in and goes with her friends, this points out that she is still growing up and part of that is to make mistakes and deal with the consequences of those mistakes, it lets the teenage readers relate to her more also.


There are some relationships in the novel that have been deliberately constructed to allow further reading into Josies personality and also the other characters personalities. For example, her relationship with her Nonna develops considerably throughout the novel, at the beginning of the novel Josie and her Nonna don’t get along a lot and Josie would dread having to go to her house every afternoon after sport, they would always argue and had very different views on everything, she was also very nosey in the way Josies mother Christina was raising Josie and also the fact that Josie was born out of wedlock and had no father figure. But by the end of the novel their relationship is clearly one of love and trust, when Nonna Katia reveals that she cheated on her husband once with a man named Markus Sanford and that was how Christina was created, which means that both Nonna Katia and Christina were finally able to reconcile and Christina understood why her own mother was very ….. about the way Josie was being raised, she wanted better for Josie than she gave to Christina. There is also her relationship with Michael, her father. Her relationship with him is what allows her to get through her last year of school even though there were so many issues that she had to deal with first. He gives her the passion to continue to try hard to become a barrister like she originally wanted. There is also the relationship with John Barton. Josie and John become very close and John began to tell Josie some of his inner most thoughts, I think by constructing their relationship like that throughout the novel allows Josie to deal with his suicide easier and understand it a bit more about why he did it, than anyone else around her did, she knew how he felt & about all the pressure he was under. Whereas everyone else around her thought he was being selfish, and had no reason to be depressed or had nothing to worry about because he came from a good family and was doing well in school.


The preferred reading of Josie’s character is that she just a normal teenager going through her last year of school, and dealing with any obstacles that come in her way. A resistant reading could also be taken by the way she complains about how hard her life is, and some readers may be in a worse situation than her therefore not like her character and think she is spoilt and doesn’t appreicate what she has. There is also the culture factor, obviously not everyones family is the same as Josies, they have their beliefs which are often brought through in certain situations. Their family is portrayed as a very typical stereotype of an Italian family, the closeness and the noseyness of everyone in the family being in eachothers business, and the struggles they had to go through to get to where they are.


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In conclusion, Josie’s character has been very carefully constructed the whole way through the novel to appeal and seem realistic to the teen readers of the book, it allows everyone to connect to some part of the novel, either by what she actually went through or just how she dealt with certain situations.





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