A Long Way Home

by

Saroo Brierley

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Dad / John Brierley Character Analysis

Dad (John Brierley) is Saroo’s adoptive father. He runs an industrial hose business in Hobart, Tasmania, where both Mantosh and Saroo work as adults. Dad was born in England and moved to Australia as a teenager. He enjoyed the climate so much that he never returns to England. He fully supports Mum’s desire to adopt internationally and not have biological children, though he doesn’t feel as strongly about it as she does. As a parent, Dad is loving and kind, but firm. Saroo very much enjoys having fatherly attention. Dad in particular is the one tasked with standing up to racism within their community, as he experiences several incidents while signing Saroo and Mantosh up for sports teams. Like Mum, Dad is very active, and the Brierleys as a unit are an outdoorsy family. He’s especially interested in sailing and water sports, and in the year after adopting Saroo, he often takes Saroo out on his catamaran.

Dad / John Brierley Quotes in A Long Way Home

The A Long Way Home quotes below are all either spoken by Dad / John Brierley or refer to Dad / John Brierley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of A Long Way Home published in 2013.
1. Remembering Quotes

Mum and Dad were very affectionate, right from the start, always giving me lots of cuddles and making me feel safe, secure, loved, and, above all, wanted. That meant a lot to a child who'd been lost and had experienced what it was like for no one to care about him.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley, Dad / John Brierley
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
6. My Mum's Journey Quotes

Mum was delighted when the word came through but also calm: somewhere inside her, she'd always felt that the vision she'd had at the age of twelve had meant it was her destiny to have an adopted child by her side.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley, Dad / John Brierley
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

She is an advocate of replacing Australia's various state laws on intercountry adoption with a simplified federal law. She's critical of governments making it too difficult to adopt and feels that if it was a little easier, maybe more families would do it.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley, Dad / John Brierley
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
9. Finding Home Quotes

Mum had such a dedicated belief in adoption and the authentic family that adoption created. I was worried about how my news would affect her, and I wanted to reassure her that of course they would always be my parents.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley, Dad / John Brierley
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
10. Meeting My Mother Quotes

Even at this first meeting, she told me she was grateful to my parents who had raised me in Australia, and that they had the right to call me their son because they had raised me from a child and made me the man I was today. Her only concern for me, she said, was that I should have the very best life I could.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Kamla (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley, Dad / John Brierley
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dad / John Brierley Character Timeline in A Long Way Home

The timeline below shows where the character Dad / John Brierley appears in A Long Way Home. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Remembering
Family Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Mum and Dad aren't sure how Saroo got lost. All anyone knows at first is that Saroo was... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Often, Saroo, Mum, and Dad visit an Indian couple, Saleen and Jacob. They speak Hindi with Saroo and translate as... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...he has to take any opportunities that allow him to survive and thrive. Mum and Dad make Saroo feel loved, safe, and wanted. He keeps his thoughts and memories to himself,... (full context)
5. A New Life
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
...shy, he immediately recognizes the Brierleys. He still has his chocolate. He hugs Mum and Dad, and Mum cleans the chocolate off of his hand. They can't talk to each other,... (full context)
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Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...He sleeps soundly that night and wakes up in the morning to see Mum and Dad watching him from their bed. He peers out at them, and feels as though none... (full context)
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...to swim very quickly, and Saroo loves being able to enjoy the outdoors. Mum and Dad are active and take Saroo to play golf, hike, and sail. Saroo finds the natural... (full context)
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...to his classmates. Saroo says he doesn’t remember experiencing racism at school, though Mum and Dad can recall several instances that went over Saroo’s head at the time. They eventually stop... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...all his teachers at school and applies himself to academics. When he’s ten, Mum and Dad adopt another child from India. Saroo is thrilled; he’d been saying for years that he... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
Just as they did the first time, Mum and Dad ask for any child of any age or gender, and they get a little boy... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...give Saroo as much attention now, Saroo is used to being independent. Eventually, Mum and Dad begin planning a family trip to India. Both Saroo and Mantosh are initially excited, but... (full context)
6. My Mum's Journey
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
...a lunch break one day, Mum noticed a young man from Hobart named John Brierley (Dad). He soon asked her out. He was from England, and though he’d been skeptical of... (full context)
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
A year later, Dad got a job on the mainland, but he stayed in Burnie long enough to propose... (full context)
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...even though he threatened to kill her. Eventually, she came to live with Mum and Dad when Saroo and Mantosh were young. Josef died when Saroo was twelve, and he never... (full context)
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
In part because of the political shifts happening in Australia after the sixties, Mum and Dad were very interested in “alternative” ideas. They, like others, were worried about overpopulation and war,... (full context)
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
...that time, state law prohibited couples who were able to conceive from adopting. Mum and Dad settled for sponsoring children overseas and otherwise enjoying their good fortune. Sixteen years later, Mum... (full context)
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
Because Mum and Dad didn’t have a preference on age or sex, they received word that Saroo was available... (full context)
7. Growing Up
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...do with being adopted and everything to do with being a teen. Eventually, Mum and Dad give Saroo an ultimatum: leave school before Year 12 to work, go to university, or... (full context)
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...work for the family business selling industrial hoses. Mantosh joins the business as well. Coincidentally, Dad began the business the day that Saroo arrived from India. Saroo also begins a new... (full context)
8. Resuming the Search
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Though Saroo loves working with Dad, his relationship with his girlfriend sours and they soon break up. Saroo moves back in... (full context)
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...recognizes that he’s obsessed. Saroo doesn’t tell many people about his search, especially Mum and Dad. He doesn’t want them to think he’s unhappy with his life they gave him. (full context)
9. Finding Home
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
The next day, Saroo tells Dad that he found his hometown. Dad is skeptical, and Saroo realizes that telling him is... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...answer his questions, but he feels some of the same anxiety that made Mum and Dad cancel the trip to India when Saroo was a child. (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Lisa backs down immediately, but Mum and Dad argue more. Finally, Saroo convinces them that he must go alone. It takes Saroo eleven... (full context)
10. Meeting My Mother
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
...when he got lost. She makes it very clear that she’s grateful to Mum and Dad for raising Saroo to be the man he is today, and she insists she only... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...he’ll never know the full truth. Before he goes to bed, he texts Mum and Dad the news, and tells them that Kamla thanks them for raising him. (full context)
12. Reaching Out
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...now, he’ll have to figure out how he fits into both families across cultures. Mum, Dad, and Lisa are thrilled to hear all about meeting his family and seem especially interested... (full context)
Epilogue
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...an element of destiny in how things played out. He knows too that Mum and Dad wouldn’t wish that their lives had gone any differently, and he explains that he’s extremely... (full context)