Saturday, May 29, 2010
Jane Yolen Could Be My Bestest Friend
Every day, I would see customers go over to the childrens' section and talk to each other loudly about what storybooks you "had" to get. And you know what they were always talking about? Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. These customers (read: loud Southern ladies) would go on and on about how sweet this book is, how darling, how perfect it was.
At this point in my life I did not have children. So I mostly ignored them. But then? I became pregnant with the little bean that would become Scarlett. I started thinking about things like what storybooks I would read to her. So one day, I trotted over to the childrens' section, picked up this book, and looked to see what all the fuss was about.
And people? This is the creepiest book I have ever read. Seriously. It gave me the skeeves even worse than when I read Running With Scissors (which is surprisingly filthy for a bestseller that was made into a film.)
I don't often share my opinion of this book, because when I have, I have found it does not make me popular. When I told my best friend I thought it was creepy? She actually pouted. She pushed out her lip and said, "Awww, but it's so sweet." Okay. Never mind.
When a childrens' librarian recommended it to me and I said, "Actually I read it and I thought it was really creepy," she gave me this look like I was the one who was creepy. No, y'all. The book is creepy.
For a long time I thought I was alone on this. And then? I read this, in Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft by awesome childrens' book author Jane Yolen: "You may adore Love You Forever, but I hear it as a story about an overbearing and smothering mother who infantilizes her son and can only tell him she loves him when he is fast asleep. I also contend that she drugs his cocoa. And that when the man's baby daughter wakes up sixteen years later and finds him fondling her in her room, she will be calling 911 and going into therapy." Bazinga!
Me and Jane, if we were ever to meet? We would be friends.