kids books i loathe week is completed with a classic that everybody seems to love. everyone except for me, that is. in fact, i would have to say this is the book that sends me over the biggest cliff. i would never, ever advocate banning it. but jeez oh man, i hate this book with a passion.
i know, i know. the giving tree is a tender story that talks about loyalty and devotion. silverstein keeps it open-ended so that you and your child can have a conversation about being good to one another. selflessness. that sort of thing.
but you know what? i think a little too much selflessness is foisted onto parents, particularly mothers. and we are often the readers of this book, and we’re the ones who get the message thus strewn upon ourselves. i know plenty of mothers — myself included — who would put limb and life and liberty at risk simply to ensure the happiness and well-being of their child. now, this is good. and this is not so good.
you know. put the air mask on yourselves, people, before you put it on the children.
i have seen and been the woman who whittles herself down to the point where there is nearly nothing left for my partner, my kids, my world. what good are you to everyone if you’re a shell of your former self?
and that’s why i get so effing mad at this book. it sanctifies the effing tree. what an amazing, giving tree. it gives and gives until it can barely give anymore. and of course, no one appreciates it until its too late.
appreciate me now, while i am here to hear it. enjoy me now, while i can still join you in your laughter. don’t wait til i’m dead. don’t make me a martyr.
and pick a different book out for me to read to my kids for that matter.
The Giving Tree