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The Fangirl

Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.

The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein I have very fond memories of this book. It was one of my favorites as a child. The art is simple but effective, and the story is quite beautiful.When I recently read it to my own children for the first time, I realized that it is actually quiet sad and that the relationship between the tree and the boy is very unhealthy. I don't think it's an accident that the tree gives everything she has to make an oblivious man happy through out his life. Which is further proof how clever crafted the story is, because it fits into the modern judeo-christian narrative which elvates acts of generosity to a holy act and I do not think it's an accident that the boy is male and the giving tree is female. In retrospect it is interesting how romantically myself and a lot of people my age view this story, when in fact is a very tragic and rather accurate depiction of a co-dependent relationship. This might explain a lot about my own relationship issues growing up. I don't think the story was created to provide answers, but rather to start a conversation, where both adults and children could closely examine the nature of giving and receiving, appreciation and moderation. The these themes are applicable to a number of subjects; social responsibility, romantic relationships, use of natural resources, the relationship between a parent and child, the list goes on and on. So while I still have a lot of love for the story, I'm going to hold off on reading it to my kids until they are old enough for us to have a conversation about the themes of selflessness and selfishness in the book.