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Salt Houses


From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family...
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Discuss Salt Houses by Hala Alyan:
Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

Created: 05/25/18

Replies: 11

Posted May. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

Alia and Atef each secretly have a "favorite" child, though they would never admit it--just as Salma has a soft spot for her youngest, Alia. Did you find this to be a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?


Posted Jun. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
brendaw

Join Date: 11/29/17

Posts: 5

RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I found that a little strange. I have four children, all with different personalities, but love them all equally. One or the other need more attention at different stages of their lives but that doesn’t mean you love them less or more.


Posted Jun. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I also found it strange. Especially since it was not so secret. The other children in the family were aware of the favoritism. It also seemed that they favored the child that was most like them in mannerism and behavior.


Posted Jun. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolf

Join Date: 07/10/14

Posts: 27

RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I think if all mothers were entirely honest they would admit to connecting with one child more than another. Not sure if this is the same thing as preferring one child over another which sounds harsher. After Salma is forced to flee her home she says only Alia mentions Jaffa which cheers her and she felt grateful as she missed her home very much and no one else spoke of it. Alia says all her life she has been denied a good fight as her husband is too timid so when Souad challenges her mother about "pining over Amman like some jilted lover" I think Alia sees that spark of herself.


Posted Jun. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I think it is not peculiar for a parent to feel more comfortable around one child than another as they develop their own personalities -- which is different than openly displaying favoritism. It doesn't mean you don't love them both just as much, but sometimes one child is so much like you that you but heads, as happened here. So that did seem understandable to me. And just as understandable is the feeling of guilt about this. But I think it is natural. It may not happen for every parent, it's just the how the personalities unfold, but it happens a lot. And I can imagine that the level of stress that these families experienced would make it worse, because small conflicts carry more emotional weight when you are already feeling defensive.


Posted Jun. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I think that parents do have a favorite. They will try to not let it be known or shown in any way, but it does happen. That's just human nature. The favorite is usually the one most like you - or one that brings out the most compassion.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 107

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I feel you love your children for who they are.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

Favoritism is a three headed beast, but I truly believe that most parents and grand parents do have a favorite. It may be for a particular time in life, a particular situation or due to their pride in that child. Favoritism is fleeting, it can come and go and change over time. However most will try to hide their favoritism to eliminate bad feelings, unlike the parents in this story.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 29

RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I find the portrayal very realistic as, in my observation, a parent often connects better with the child who is exactly opposite of them in personality. What might be perceived as favoritism is often just connection with a child who is easier for a parent to deal with than another child.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

As the parent of three adult children I believe that at different times in their lives I probably showed favoritism when I felt they needed it.


Posted Jun. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 90

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RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I think this is very common and understandable. It is more who you can relate to or get along with than favoring. Some children are easy to raise, some are not; some think like you do, others come at it from a different view.


Posted Jun. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
audrey1

Join Date: 09/02/13

Posts: 29

RE: Did you find Alia, Atef and Salma's secret preference for one of their children a realistic portrayal of how parents feel about their children--and do you understand why each of these parents favored the particular child they did?

I think this special feeling varies over time. At one time or another a parent feels more on the same wavelength with one or another child or grandchild. But usually over the course of a lifetime, it evens out if the parent is aware of this and does not reinforce this favoritism verbally or affectionately. My feelings of closeness towards my 3 daughters have shifted depended upon which I felt had the greatest need for love and attention and support. But it has evened out over our lives together.


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