Mark Reads ‘Lifeboats’: Chapter 2, Part II

In the second half of the second chapter of Lifeboats, Kit juggles stress over his urgent mission, his dad’s predicament, and his new relationship. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

Trigger Warning: For discussion of poverty, anxiety.

So much to talk about, y’all! LET’S GO.

Changes

Whew, this part took me OUT.

Kit couldn’t remember ever seeing his pop get so thrown by anything, and it had disturbed him more than he’d expected.

My mind went to one place when I read this line. I know it’s difficult for me to say that I had anything approaching a normal childhood, as that’s something that’s become really apparent the more and more that I talk about it. Still, until around nine or town, I could at least imagine that my life was pretty normal. However, after moving from Idaho down to Southern California, my parents became unable to hide their problems anymore. When my dad lost the job that he had moved to California for, it was obvious, and it was devastating. Getting laid off was most likely a mundane act from the point of view of the company he worked for, and I’m sure they just saw it as a momentary glimpse of something unfortunate. They sure did well in the long run.

For us, however, this was the domino that eventually knocked everything over. I’ve talked with other people who testified to how well their parents were able to create the appearance that all was fine in their home, but that was not the case in mine. I remember the day my dad got laid off. I remember my mother’s anger. I remember the weeks that stretched into months that stretched into a long hole of bleakness as my mother had to get a job that didn’t last and we suddenly knew, even as young as we were, that we did not have enough. That’s a strange thing to know as a kid, y’all!

Like most children, I believed in the infallibility of my parents, but unlike most people, it didn’t last very long. Seeing your parents as humans and all the implications of that is a good thing, but that doesn’t lessen the blow of the first time you realize it is true.

Saving the world

I still maintain that one of the best story decisions in this book was to have Kit and Nita tell their parents that they are wizards. It has provided a wealth of possibility in the kind of stories that fill these books, and The Wizard’s Dilemma would LITERALLY not exist in the same form without this choice. I’ve also enjoyed the way Harry Callahan has leapt into this new world with his daughters, too!

But the Rodriguez family has truly come into their own in Interim Errantry, and it’s satisfying that they aren’t a copy of the Callahans. There’s a lot more friction here, though it’s not antagonism. They have accepted that Kit is a wizard, that Carmela is gifted in the Speech, but they don’t always understand exactly what’s going on. That might be similar to how Harry behaves, but I think the context makes it different. As we see in this chapter, Kit isn’t necessarily as good as Nita is at explaining wizardry or what it is he needs to do while on errantry. So there’s a bit of a communication conflict here, but it’s not like they all don’t try. They certainly do! And this is a very complicated set of realities that Kit has to describe, especially the concept of that timeslide.

But they try, and that is important. This is a portrait of a family that loves and supports and accepts one another, and it’s utterly adorable and refreshing to read it unfolding. It’s weird to think that Kit may be gone for only 15 minutes, and this predicament is clearly a nightmare. THAT OPENING CHAPTER ISN’T MAKING ME FEEL ANY BETTER. But knowing that Kit is going home to these parents does make me feel quite good. They’re pretty damn awesome.

I’M SCARED ABOUT THIS ERRANTRY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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