Five Incredibly Dysfunctional Families in Literature

Posted by Kristina Pino

Stop biting yourself! Stop biting yourself! Mooooom!

Like it or not, you can't choose the family you're related to by blood. It just… happens. And most of the time, it turns out pretty good.

But some families are so poisonous that it isn't just bad to be a part of the clan. It's also bad to be associated with them in any way, even from the outside. Below is a list of families that I wouldn't want to be a part of, but equally as importantly, wouldn't want my circles to intersect with in any way. They're that bad.

The Wormwoods (Matilda): I don't feel like I need to go too deep into details about why Matilda's parents are awful humans. It's bad enough not being loved and cared for properly. But it's like the rotten cherry on top of the heap of fail when parents discourage the efforts of a child who is clearly gifted.

I originally wanted to put the Dursleys here, but these rotten eggs have been around for way longer. That, and I still have bitter feels about the fate of certain characters before being able to adopt Harry. Matilda fared a bit better, and I like happy endings.

The Lannisters (A Song of Ice and Fire series): No list about dysfunctional families is complete without mention of the Lannisters. It doesn't get any worse than pretty much everyone in your family having their own agenda with plots to kill each other in the process of coming out on top. Well, maybe they don't all want to kill each other, but they sure have a funny way of showing it.

The Corleones (The Godfather): You would think that, as with the Lannisters, a powerful family that has to compete with other powerful families would just stick together. It would make sense, and self-preservation would be easier without deception. But no such luck. This family is full of conspiracies.

The Baudelaires (A Series of Unfortunate Events): So you've got a big family. And with so many relatives, you can't expect everyone to get along. Now, add to the pile that they're all spies and part of secret organizations, and things get very sticky. I do not envy the Baudelaire orphans throughout their adventures as told by Lemony Snicket. It wasn't just because of relatives, either. They had the unfortunate luck of being in the charge of an incompetent adult who continually failed to keep the children out of harm's way. An adult who, like the family you're born to, wasn't chosen by them and couldn't be changed.

The Vangers (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo): Like the Lannisters and the Corleones, the Vanger clan is rich and powerful, and they deign to tolerate each other when they must because they've kept their business affairs all within the family.

But secretly, they probably all want to murder each other. It's kind of hilarious, actually. I mean, except for, you know. That guy. That guy sucks. Take him out of the equation though, and you're left with a bunch of cranky old people who hate each other's guts.

Of course, this is just my sampling. There are so many rotten families in literature that we'd lose count in no time. Which families not mentioned here make your list?

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