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Literature / Family Tree Series

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The Family Tree series is a group of books written by Ann M. Martin that chronicles the lives of the eldest daughter in each of a family's four generations.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Luther controls his daughters activities and even makes decisions for them and worse, has sent his son away to a school because the boy's disability embarrasses him.
  • Amicably Divorced: Dana and Matthew
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  • The Alcoholic: Zander
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Luther is the recipient of this; Abby gets it from her daughter Dana and Francie gets it from Georgia.
    • Dana calls out a rude lady who made some comments about her brother with Down Syndrome.
    • Francie calls out this bigoted old couple for their vocal disapproval of her friends' mixed race parents.
  • Domestic Abuser: Luther can count as one, in a possessive sense. He told Eleanor to stop seeing her old friends and his planting the rosebushes (as representative of each child she lost) was more for her to get down to doing housework again, later he had placed their only son (who is mentally disabled) in a home out of embarrassment and without consulting her. He seems to regret it in the end.
  • Doesn't Trust Those Guys: Luther towards anyone that doesn't fit his narrow, WASP, Hoover Republican view, for example Irish and Catholics.
  • Driven to Suicide: As revealed in the 4th book Abby's mother Eleanor.
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  • Drunk Driver: Francie's son in the 4th book, the accident put him in therapy and several people were killed.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Abby's father Luther hardly allows the girls to socialize with certain children or work.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Particularly in the first book.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: An example with the WASP Abby getting re-married to childhood friend and the part-Irish Orrin and later Dana to the Jewish Matthew Goldberg. Luther is not pleased.
    • The 3rd book had the Goldberg's (Dana's family) friends facing some prejudice due to the black and white parents; a pair of bigoted strangers earned a scathing comeback from Francie.
  • Morning Sickness: Abby's is terrible.
  • My Beloved Smother: Francie in the 4th book has became this, to the point where she demands the family move to Maine after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks just because it's "safer" and not so close to NYC.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Much of the strife in the family (esp. from mother to daughter and so on) can be attributed to this trope; Dana doesn't want to hurt Abby by telling her the real reason she leaves for New York (with the older woman seeing it as abandonment) and Francie keeps the secret of almost being kidnapped to herself for several decades and becomes an overprotective mom that almost drives Georgia away. Everything is solved in the 4th book when all 4 generations sit down in the same room and talk things out.
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  • Racist Grandpa: Oh Luther, Luther, Luther.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Luther's attitude towards women (especially more upper class WASP women) working and going to college is, shall we say, backwards.
  • The Unfavorite: Georgia feels this way with Francie, due to the woman being strict with her.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Peter has one in the second book.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Helen, to a certain extent.
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