It is quite interesting how this upsetting discovering is affecting Alison.
It is meaningful how she seems to be in awe with her daughter, even admitting that she had always been surprised that someone as marvellous as Katherine could come from her. This shows how little she thinks of herself. It is also strange that she seems almost indifferent to the fact that she has a real daughter. When she agrees to have a meeting between the two families, she sees herself in Olivia, but not as she is now, but the person she used to be and clearly despises. We know that Alison got pregnant and when she tried to get the help of her mother, the woman acted in a callous way, making her question her value, and then apparently, she had to give that baby away. So is she so indifferent about the baby she had to give away as the girl who grew up without her? I wonder if she really gave the baby away for adoption, or if she finally had a miscarriage.
It’s also quite interesting the point the book makes about nurture and nature. Is Katherine so wonderful because it is in her nature… in her genetic map, or is it because her parents raised her that way? What is stronger? Her genes or those values that her parents have fostered in her? And the same can be said about Olivia? Are the traits that Alison scorns intrinsic part of her or is it just the result of her upbringing?
I also feel sorry for Alison. Because of her outstanding matters with her past, she is all over the place. She doesn’t want to lose Katherine, and her intensity pushes her daughter to search out her birth family on her own. That is what pushes the encounter with Tom Truby and his other children. The meeting doesn’t turn out well. Alison can feel Olivia’s disdain. She might feel she is losing the daughter she has raised and is unable to get to the one she bore for nine months. The encounter with Olivia and her family goes from bad to worse, especially for Alison, who feels out of her depth, and when Katherine starts talking about her mother, her words don’t show her in a very good light. It is curious that it is only Alison who gets all this heat. The two men are there, but they’re in a safe position, but it is Alison who gets to be judged by the daughter who she raised and by the one who she didn’t. Is it because she is a woman, or is it simply her perception of the situation?
Alison intrigues me; she has created this new personality that as far as we know is not the person she used to be. Now all this conflict overwhelms her, which is natural, but I think all her past is also haunting her. I wonder if her husband truly knows her or he has only get to know this new persona she has grown into. Does he know about her past? Her teenage pregnancy? Her determination to succeed? Her family problems?