Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Slap

The Slap is a book by Christos Tsiolkas, and I have recently been rewatching the TV adapation on ABC1, and to be honest I'm not really sure what I think of it. I've got lots of thoughta and ideas an questions but certainly not a coherent viewpoint (or blog post - sorry).

The scenario is a barbeque with family and friends for Hector's 40th birthday party. A small child, Hugo, has poor behaviour. Everyone else at the party has a lot of issues, and the tension grows as the afternoon unfolds. The end result is that Hugo is slapped in the face by another party guest.

The show (and the book) is told in eight parts, from the point of view of eight characters. I don't want to go into a total recap, but if you're in Australia you can view them on iView.

I wanted to blog about this, but as I said above it's all a bit confusing to me and isn't very clear in my mind. A few thoughts about Rosie:

I can't really understand her. What are her motivations? Why does she does what she does?

After Hugo is slapped, she snatches him up and then shouts at Harry, the man who slapped Hugo. In a later episode, Harry comes to Rosie's house to apologise on the request of his wife. Rosie is furious at him. She appears to me to deliberately bait Harry - when he arrives she asks Hugo 'Do you remember this man Hugo?' I can't really articulate why this it bad, but it almost seems like Rosie is stirring up the situation to show Harry how bad it is (and therefore how bad he is, as the person who slapped Hugo), even if that means making things worse for Hugo. Hugo has been breastfeeding and is sitting Rosie's lap; as the apology meeting quickly spirals into disaster she shouts and swears at Harry across the table, and right into Hugo's ear. It seems strange to me that she would shout and swear in her son's face while trying to 'protect' him.

She does seem genuienly concerned for Hugo sometimes - when she sees that the pot is on the stove when visiting Rachael she knows that something bad has likely happened. She sets Hugo up at the table with a drawing to keep him busy, so that he doesn't see anything bad.

She seems obsessed, fixated on the court case - selfishly. For Rosie the court case and Harry's punishment become the enemy to pursue with a determination, passion and selfish fanatiscism. She tries to turn every conversation back to her and the court case. When she is shown support and friendship she snaps 'will you stop saying that?' because she didn't get her own way at the court case - much like a tantruming child.

Rosie seems to have many demons, but I can't seem to see through them. What are her motivations? Does she love Hugo because she loves him, or does she love him because she is pouring all of her emptiness and disappointments into being - or appearing - to be 'a good mother'. As Rachael says, 'at least Hugo will know that he was loved.' I can't help but wonder, is it all an act? If not all of it, then at least some of it?

Apparantly there is more information in the book; flashbacks to Rosie's childhood (I've not read the book). Perhaps this would make her easier to understand.

For all of her breastfeeding and talking about baby led weaning, I certainly don't think that Rosie is attachment parenting. AP is about being close to your child, intimatly knowing them and responding to their needs and that isn't what Rosie seems to be doing to me. Hugo is crying out for discipline, structure and consistency and that's not what he's getting, because Rosie is so blinded by her issues (manifesting as her persuit of Harry) that she can't see that he needs it; or if she can she doesn't have the strength to look for it.

I wanted to like her, I really, really did, but I just can't.

I've not seen any more; I missed the last episodes when it was last on. I will watch with reserved - interest. I'm still not sure if I'm liking it. It's uncomfortable viewing for sure - the tension is hard to watch. The acting is excellent.

There's another post in this where I want to discuss the breastfeeding, but that is for another day.

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