Kiki's Reviews > The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
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's review
Jul 21, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: lolwut, maybe-later-alligator, what-has-been-seen-cannot-be-unseen
Recommended to Kiki by: A giving tree
Recommended for: Giving trees
Read on July 21, 2011 , read count: 1

I'm baffled by The Giving Tree. Completely baffled.

When people talk about it, they never tell you just how twisted it really is. There's this vague whiff of patriarchy surrounding it, as well as the running theme of "parents aren't really people. Use them whenever you feel like it. They haven't got anything better to do than serve your whims and desires anyway".

I get it, I do. When you have small children, they depend on you for pretty much everything, and you have to give, give, give. But if they're still taking advantage of you and asking you for the most random spontaneous shit like "I need a boat. I feel like sailing" when they have their own family, then there's something not quite right here. In fact, there's something very wrong with disappearing and leaving your parents broken and sad, then returning briefly to demand things from them. What a horrible, selfish dynamic.

It kind of reminds me of my mother. My brother, who is a lot older than me, has exactly the same attitude toward her as the boy in the story, and I've seen how that has completely and utterly destroyed her. I read this story online and the comment at the end, written by the poster, stated that "this is how we all treat our parents".

No. Sorry, no. I have never and will never treat my mother in this way. It's horrible and cruel and incredibly selfish. What a terrible lesson to teach children! That you should use and degrade those who love you and have provided for you! The story would have been at least bearable had the boy, in the end, planted some of the tree's seeds or something, and given something back, but no. He just takes and takes and takes. Look at Love You Forever - the mom comforts and loves the boy/man throughout his entire life, and she's always giving, but in the end, when she's dying, he switches their roles and takes it upon himself to look after her in her hour of need.

Look, I'm not going to go into Love You Forever, because I've already written a review for it. But really, look at the message it sends compared to The Giving Tree. At least with the former I wasn't half-expecting the boy to, in the end, pee all over the mother as a last insult.

Honestly, I could go on and on and on about this for hours, but I have better things to do. I think I've ruined enough Goodreads friendships as it is. For all those of you who love this book, I respect you. It's lovely to have these special childhood relics, like kid's books and songs. Hell, who doesn't love Raffi? What I'm saying is that I'm trashing this book, not those who love it. If you do, more power to you. I'm glad. I'm sure that if I read this book when I was a child, I'd probably be on the other side of the fence.

Ergo, I am too old to be reading this book.

How sad.
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02/13/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by zaju (last edited Aug 03, 2011 04:54PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

zaju You are right, you should not treat your parents this way. And I can feel your emotion, it is pretty sad when you put it like that.
And could you please read my review?

Tami I remember reading this book when I was in 2nd grade. My teacher said that she loved the book. I said to myself that I do no like the little boy.

Spider the Doof Warrior I would say do not treat anyone that way and instead give as well as take and then give again.

message 4: by Nicole (new)

Nicole The boy always seemed like a sociopath to me...

Foobs If you're a terrible parent (like the tree was), you're probably going to raise a terrible child who grows up into a terrible adult. When they do, they'll treat you terribly.

If the book has any redeaming value, it is as a demonstration of how, when you're a lousy and indulgent parent, that story ends

message 6: by Mk (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mk i think you are just hating on the character (the boy) and not the book.

David Joseph Great review! Every once in awhile I pick it up, put it down and think," I could go on and on about this for hours". I just don't thik it's something to hand over to children. thanks.

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