Family in the Gallagher Girls series

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One last thought before I move on… family… how is this portrayed in the Gallagher Girls series? Cammie is a single child – though her best friends at the Academy make up for that (p.178) – and her school and home life are totally mixed together, with her mother as her headmistress, her aunt as a highly successful spy (graduated from her school), then a teacher at her school… her father is missing, perhaps (then definitely) dead… grandparents are mentioned periodically… family relationships are returned to time and again… but to what effect? How is this enjoyed by the reader? what does it offer us?

Consider this moment…

“For reasons that had nothing to do with my mother’s cooking ability (or lack thereof), I totally wasn’t looking forward to Sunday night. / Sure, we have a lot of traditions at the Gallagher Academy, and Sunday night dinners alone with my mum in her office were usually one of my favourites. I didn’t wear my uniform. She didn’t talk about the school. We weren’t headmistress and student on those nights. We were mother and daughter.” (245)

Why set the scene like this? Why enter this aspect of the life of a spy? (even if she is a teenage spy…)

[Actually, this whole chapter is a good example of what I’m talking about…]

Then, again, later, when the girls uncover more truths about their school and its founder (the senator’s daughter, Macey’s ancestor): “‘So Gilly’s family…’ Macey started, but trailed off. / ‘Disapproved?’ Liz guessed. Then she nodded. ‘Totally.’ / ‘Awesome’ Macey looked like she’d never been more proud to have Gilly’s blood in her veins.” (268).

There are two points to consider here: 1) Macey celebrates the rejection of the young spy Gilly by her stuffy old, stagnant family (something Macey no doubt feels a kinship with) and 2) lineage is important in this series: girls inherit their connections with the super-secret school for spies (the villains in the series do the same thing). The blood in your veins determines the education you will receive and the politics you will espouse… (see also p.263, 321-322) …Hmmmm… and then some of the characters are significant for their rejection of exactly that?!

Ref: Ally Carter (2012) Out of Sight, Out of Time. Orchard: London, Sydney

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