Kirk's Reviews > Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
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's review
Apr 08, 2012

it was ok
Recommended to Kirk by: An evil librarian who used to ply us with candy bars to make us read
Recommended for: Satanists and Hippies
Read in May, 1985 , read count: 20

Where the Wild Things Are

What's the moral of this story? Some might say Sendack's work is a testament to the unbridled powers of a child's imagination. Others would posit that the true virtue of Where the Wild Things Are stems from the reversal of a timeless power dynamic in which monsters frighten children. In Sendack's carefully rendered world, monsters submit to the whims of children, which appears to suit Max well enough. I assume it works well for other children as well. If you can't convince snot-nosed brats that monsters don't exist, at least you can convince them that monsters are friendly. Children, after all, are like neo-conservatives. You can only reason with them on their own delusional terms.

Here's the summary:

Max is an asshole. His mother calls him a monster, so he flies into a cannibalistic rage. She sends him to his room without dinner, which doesn't seem to be the best of ideas since he just threatened to eat her f*&% face off, but whatever. This book isn't heralded as a classic because of its promotion of high-quality parenting techniques. I'll get to that in a moment.

I couldn't help but notice the parallels between the story of Max and the early years of Siddhartha. Both starve themselves until they hallucinate. But the similarities end there. Siddhartha realizes that his approach to transcendentalism is misguided, and he eats once more. Max, on the other hand, starves himself for a night and trees grow in his room. Then he proceeds to get on a boat and fast for an entire year, at which point he starts seeing giant monsters.

The fact that these monsters cater to his delusions of grandeur--cowering in his presence and sharing his flesh-eating inclinations--lets us know that Max has externalized his fantasy world through strict fasting. On one hand, I respect this kid. I can rarely push through four days without wheat before the weekend starts and I pack in 80lbs of corporate-grown meat and bleached bread. On the other hand, what the hell is this book teaching our children? I'll tell you.

That middle finger means "I was raised on Sendak!"

Aside from self-imposed starvation, the book teaches children to give up on their aspirations as soon as the slightest temptation arises: "he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king." It sends the message that those who love you would just as happily rip your entrails out and feast upon them as soon as you decide to leave: "Oh please don't go-we'll eat you up-we love you so!" And, finally, it shows them that parents' threats are temporally limited, and eventually love will cause them to cave in. At the end of the story, Max returns to his room "where he found his supper waiting for him." Way to be strong, mom. Pushover.

I bet Satan loves this book.
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02/08/2016 marked as: read

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

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message 1: by Bradley (new)

Bradley Are you putting these reviews up on Amazon? If so, give me the link so I can read the great responses.

Kirk I haven't been putting my fake reviews on Amazon. Maybe I should put this one up for the film over there.

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah This is fake? Seriously? NOOOOO!!!!!!

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah This is fake? Seriously? NOOOOO!!!!!!

Kirk Sarah wrote: "This is fake? Seriously? NOOOOO!!!!!!"

You want me to suffer from paranoid delusions in which I believe Satan is responsible for all children's books, including Veggie Tales? VEGGIE TALES!!!

. . . That would be pretty funny.

Kirk Sendak passed away today. He was a good author, in all honesty.

message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa lmao

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