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George Saunders has described the question at the core of this book as, “How do we continue to love in a world in which the objects of our love are so conditional?” Did you find this to be true, and do you feel like you came to a deeper understanding of mortality?

I definitely believe this question to be true, I’ve seen it in action so many times. I’ve seen so many toxic relationships, not only romantic relationships but family relationships as well. Saunders’ question appears most often in the latter. Having a child means accepting them as they are, and loving them unconditionally. Even if the world is against us, we should always be able to go to and find comfort in our parents. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the mindset of some parents. They have children for free labor, free money, and to have someone to take care of them when they are old. They so easily traumatize their children, then try to make themselves look like the victim, claiming that there is something wrong with their child. These parents treat their kids as both physical and emotional punching bags, taking out their own problems on an innocent child. It’s often said that the one that is abused always becomes the abuser later on. This is an unfortunate cycle that is generational, and will keep going until someone steps up and breaks it. I’ve lost count of how many stories I’ve seen and heard of teens up to fully grown adults completely cutting off their family, parents, or specific family members. A family’s and parent’s love is supposed to be unconditional, but if it is not and you have suffered by their hands, you do not owe them anything. Family by blood means nothing since we can cut them out so easily. It’s family by choice, a found family that will provide the unconditional love someone was deprived of, that really means something.

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