As Alice Sebold reflects back to her experiences as a young child, she mentions the time she and her family dropped her father off at the airport. That was her first time accompanying her father to the airport, and all that went through her mind was how her parents were so different than everyone else's parents. She mentioned before how she had never seen her parents walk hand in hand, or kiss in public. Therefore, Alice had an urge to force her parents to kiss in order to validate their love for each other. She commanded her father to kiss her mother right in front of her and for the whole world to see. The father at first refused and gave Alice a glare, indirectly telling her to stop that instant. However, she kept on yelling and repeating, "Kiss Mom good-bye!" (Sebold 75) Her sister told her father to do as Alice says, so they can continue their day peacefully and without any annoying arguments. Consequently, the father reached out to his wife and kissed her on the forehead. This set an extremely awkward mood, due to the unwillingness of her father's action. Here is when Alice realized that her parents were missing a special something that she yet did not know the name of. Later she realized it was love that was missing. Alice then understood that in her family love was a duty. She was raised in a family where no love was exchanged or shown voluntarily. As a young child, Alice was worrying about her parent's relationship and wondering if they actually did love one another. Also, for a young girl to command her father to show emotion and some sort of passion towards his family affects the readers. You cannot help, but forget that this book is an autobiography. At times, it feels as though I am reading a fiction novel, because I can never imagine a daughter express such disappointment in her family.
Setting and Mood