Thursday, July 26, 2007

shocking revelation

I'm not a big Shel Silverstein fan.

Yeah, I'm really not. I didn't much like 'Where the Sidewalk Ends', and however many sequels it had (one?), when I was a kid. Now, I think it's kind of cute, and definitely imaginative ... but I found it gross and disturbing as a youth.

One Shel book I have always loved, though, is The Giving Tree. So do my friends. I've seen many copies of The Giving Tree on shelves at various friends' homes, and Lizzy received TWO copies of it for her first birthday. It always makes me cry.

Much to my surprise, I found out a few days ago that my boss hates the book. My boss is a really great guy, and we generally share similar views on most things. Naturally, he's allowed to disagree with me -- don't get me wrong. I was just surprised that our opinions diverge on this point.

His arguments against are that the story teaches people to give to dangerous, crippling levels. I think. As I recall, the word 'doormat' was used.

Funny. It reminds me an awful lot of parenthood.

I'd love to hear other opinions on this.

Maybe part of what shocked me was that I'm usually one of the first in line to be critical of something. Not that I'm overly negative -- at least, not usually, I don't think -- but I've been taught to approach things critically. Sometimes, though, I trip over something dear to me as a child. Something I don't particularly WANT to pull apart. Maybe this is one of those things. I don't remember it being in heavy rotation when I was a kid, but maybe it still fits in that category, in my brain.


  1. Anonymous11:30 AM EDT

    Is that the one where the kid smoked the tree and then wrote for Playboy?


  2. The Life Train8:06 AM EDT

    It's an amazing book about how giving unconditionally can bring so much more joy than receiving. There aren't so many people like this, really, although it's a very big concept. We read it at my mom's funeral because she was one of those few who gave every part of herself away. Consider it endorsed! Mir

  3. I sorta like it but find it emotionally manipulative. Like "I'll Love you Forever" or whatever that one is. They're supposed to be kids' books, but kids don't find them that interesting. It's more like "Let's see how much we can make the grownups cry."

  4. Ha! Maggie, you are so right! And I'm so easily manipulated when it comes to this stuff these days. Darn those mommy hormones! Or whatever it is. Once a mommy, always a mommy, eh?

  5. Miriam -- that is so sweet that they read the book at your mom's funeral. Wow, I would've been a puddle on the floor.

  6. Anonymous3:41 PM EDT

    We don't even have that one...or "Where the Sidewalk Ends" either, for that matter. However, I did just recently read Lizzy's cousins all of "A Light in the Attic" and "Flying Up." They especially like "The HI Monster" and a couple other interesting poems that they wanted to read over and over. Not Shakespeare, but fun for a quick diversion. We're on "Scarecrow of Oz" right now.

    -Brother Ben