I. Expand your vocabulary.

Exercise 1. The following words and word combinations can be used to describe a relationship. Look up their definitions and examples of usage in a dictionary.

to get back to normal
to fall apart
to bridge a distance
to get on smb’s nerves
to feel for each other
to drive smb nuts
to put smb’s faith into smb
to be nuts about smb
to feel giddy with happiness
to madden smb
to pick at old wounds
to build smb’s world around smb/smth
to be peppered with terms of endearment
to leave for good
to be in character
to hang on to smb’s every word
to tickle smb’s funny bone
to pull smb’s leg
to pull at smb’s heart
to be through the mill
to have another crack at smth

Exercise 2. Dwell on your relationships with your family members/friends/a boyfriend or a girlfriend using the phrases from the previous exercise.
Exercise 3. The following words and word combinations can be used to describe family life after divorce. Look up their definitions and examples of usage in a dictionary.

to lay down the rules
to get out of hand
to be dismissive of smth
a weekend family
a one-day dad
a Sunday dad
a blended family
a broken home
baby hunger
domestic mayhem
domestic strife
a legally approved trust
a wrecked relationship
a familiar stranger

Exercise 4. Dwell on the changing nature of today’s family and the challenges that both parents and children have to deal with when divorce takes palce. Make use of the phrases from Exercise 3 and the ones listed below.

to press charges
to let the lawyer off the leash
maternal preference factor
to be in gainful employment
post-divorce parenting
to have a prerogative
to withhold consent
to apply for a contact order
to deny smb a shot at happiness
to poison smb against smb

Exercise 5. Look up the meaning and examples of usage of the following idioms. Think of your own examples of using them in context.

to have the short fuse
to be neither fish nor fowl
to be in a right old pickle
to throw in the towel
to get smth off the ground
to be dealt a terrible blow
to be game for smth
to be a damper on smth

Exercise 6. Fill in the gaps with the words from the box. If necessary change their form.
indictment swanky convoluted pugnacious irreverent jaunty connoisseur malodorous inebriated asunder
  1. Shah, who is a of cuisine and wine from the Tuscany region in Italy, is also into golf, yoga and meditation.
  2. Now, you’re more likely to encounter the dish at a pizzeria than at a Italian restaurant.
  3. Many of the problems that nearly tore the Eurozone two years ago remain unresolved.
  4. Over the years, Medicaid payments to hospitals have become and difficult to understand.
  5. The boy sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose.
  6. Her voice is deep and expressive, with a swagger.
  7. The President was in a mood when he spoke to journalists about the rebellion.
  8. The against Eugene Harvey was filed Wednesday in Atlanta.
  9. After the period of intoxication, usually the next day, the person has no or, at best, vague recall for events that occurred while
  10. His blog posts were sometimes satirical and sometimes .

II. Recall the novel and complete the tasks below.

Exercise 1. Dwell on the following: “You can't give your stepchild nothing but kindness and approval, because no parent can ever do that. And yet you do not have the right to reproach a stepchild the way a real parent does. Step-parents – the ones who are trying their best – want to be liked. Parents – real parents – don't need to be liked. Because they know they are loved”. Find at least three episodes from the book to support this argument.
Exercise 2. How do you understand the words “Placing no other above thee” in the context of love, family and relationships? Write a list of rules one should observe in order to comply with this principle.
Exercise 3. Carry out a comparative analysis of the issue: “This is a sign of the times. Children spending the weekend watching one of their parents get spliced”. What other values concerning family life have changed with time? Provide examples from the text.
Exercise 4. Hold a discussion on the following issue: “Can you be a real father to your child if you’re never around?” What does it take to be a real parent? Is a parent someone who is biologically related to you or is having a similar DNA not enough?
Exercise 5. Do you agree that “It’s not good having all of your eggs in one chicken”? Prove your point of view by providing examples from the novel and from your personal experience.
Exercise 6. Comment on the following: “When my wife was still my girlfriend, she was wonderful with my son”. Do you consider that the attitude to step-children changes after marriage? Support your reasoning with evidence from the text.
Exercise 7. What is the meaning of the following phrase: “Married for years, divorced forever”? Do you think it is possible to maintain a functional relationship after divorce?
Exercise 8. “A baby of our own was just what we needed. To hold it all together”. Agree or disagree: can a child hold a family together?
Exercise 9. A. “And I knew that it wasn’t about the wedding band that made her my wife… It was the fact that she was on my side”. B. “That man would have walked through fire for me. That’s what a marriage is all about”. Hold a discussion on the essence of marriage and personal relationships. What is it all about?
Exercise 10. Agree or disagree. “The single parent answers to no one. It’s uncomplicated”.
Exercise 11. Dwell on the following: “You can wear out someone’s love just like you can wear out anything else”. Does love in your opinion have an “expiration date”?
Exercise 12. “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster”. Who said these words and on what occasion? Do you agree with them?
Exercise 13. What is to your mind the secret to a harmonious and long-lasting relationship? Do you consider the following piece of advice a sound one: “You just have to keep falling in love with the same person”. How can one do this?
Exercise 14. Hold a discussion on what it is like to be a housewife nowadays. Can it be considered a full-time job? What is the attitude of the society towards homemakers? While dwelling on this issue consider the following: “People thinking I was second-rate because I was bringing up a child – when what I was doing was the most important job in the world”.
Exercise 15. What is your opinion on the following issue: “We don’t need to tell everything to the person we’re married to”. Provide arguments for and against and examples from the text and from your personal experience to support your point of view.

III. Follow up activities.

Exercise 1. Role play a conversation between Pat and Harry during one of their Sundays together. Reflect the growing unease between the two of them.
Exercise 2. Role play a conversation between Harry and his dad. What would he have said to his son, what advice would he have given to him if he had been alive?
Exercise 3. You’re a journalist writing an article on family values in today’s society. Provide a comparative analysis of the issue considering family life now and some 20 years ago.
Exercise 4. Imagine that you’re Nigel Batty, Harry’s lawyer. Give a speech on why Pat should stay with his father. Take a) a neutral approach; b) an aggressive one.