Spoiled Children of Divorce

Ann Packer Story
August 3, 2010, 6:59 am
Filed under: Alcoholism, creativity, Fiction about Divorce

The Summer 2010 (Vol. 14, #2) issue of Zoetrope:  All Story has a story about being a grown up kid from Divorce.  “Thing Said or Done” is written by Ann Packer (p.12).  Definitely a great writer.  The story is written from the point of view of an older daughter who is attending her brother’s wedding.   Her parents are divorced and she must mediate between them.

I sort of sensed that Packer wasn’t a Child of D because there were no emotional undercurrents in the descriptions.  That was sort of what the story was about. The Father is narcissistic and the Mother is detached.  They’ve been divorced for 35 years yet the tensions remain and no one has ever discussed any of it. The main character did remind me of my step-sister (I sort of was getting jealous that maybe she did write it actually).  But, since there was no discussion of rage or resentment or exhaustion which is pretty prominent in most Child of D’s conversations (I remember a couple of tirades my step-sister trying to find food and going on about how the refrigerator was always empty because they were poor, but there was always money for cigarettes and booze) about family, I was wondering…

So I looked Ann Packer up on Wikipedia to see if she’s a Child of D.  No.  But, wow, she had a pretty difficult situation.  Her Father had a stroke and committed suicide 3 years later.

The story does show the tensions of mixing the two narratives of parents into one setting.  You’ve got to be a really great writer to do that.  And you do have to be a little emotionally numb as well.

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