Love You Forever Love You Forever discussion


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Literal or Metaphoric?

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message 1: by Yvette (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Yvette I think this book is very metaphoric. I believe that the author shows the mother doing outrageous things as a symbol of a parents’ unconditional love – no matter how mischievous, selfish, or loud our children become, our love for them will not falter. However, some readers believe the book to be creepy and someone said “incestuous”, even. Some readers see the mother as needy; a mother who won’t let go of her son, even when he is a grown man.

Do you believe this book is symbolic and about unconditional love? Or do you see it more literal and about an overbearing, creepy mom?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

When a parent can't comfort her children at any age is a sad time. This book expresses that. I DON'T believe the author meant the story and illustrations to be taken metaphorically, although there is definitely a MESSAGE and a THEME to the book. In our culture, it's becoming increasingly aberrant for anyone other than parents to touch small children and anyone other than spouses to hold and comfort us. But if we need to held and comforted and rocked to sleep, is it inherently perverted for an adult to do so? It's OK when a soldier gets rocked to sleep by a GI nurse, but it's sick when a story tells us mothers' love for children is nearly boundless, irrational, and always a bit infantilizing? It is. We were tiny when we came into this world, helpless ... and no one remembers that more or better or more vividly than our parents or the loved friends and relatives who cared for us as we grew up.


Kristine Of course it was meant to be a metaphor -- that doesn't change the fact that taking it literally will give you nightmares. I just think that with all the books out there about unconditional love (I love you, stinky face; No David!; etc.) it would be ok to skip this one and go to the others without the creepy factor.


message 4: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi I agree with Kristine. I'm sure the author didn't intend for it be taken literally. Nonetheless, it's the creepiest children's book ever and there are so many others out there without the co-dependency and possible incestuous messages.


Franny Burd I have to say that I was blown away by people finding this book "creepy". It was given to my son by a good friend, and I found the message to be beautiful. Ok, I agree with some that the illistrations are sorely lacking, but "incestuous"? How bizarre. I absolutely don't think this book was meant to be taken literally, the author was just trying to express that a parent's love never ends, even when the child is driving you crazy or is grown and on his own. And as for the person who reviewed it and said that the mother "only tells her son she loves him when he's asleep"? Umm, can you show me where it says that? Yes, she tells him when he's sleeping, but why would you assume that she doesn't also tell him when he's awake? Very illogical jump there. I guess I shouldn't be so puzzled by so many not liking this book, when I go against popular opinion by hating "The Giving Tree". Thank God we have such a wide selection of books to choose from - we can each find something that speaks to our heart!


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

Val Franny, I agree with you completely, right down to hating the giving tree. I have a shelf called "everyone likes them i don't". Finding someone who thinks like you do when most don't is one of the things I love about goodreads.
Anyway, I heard this book read aloud on the radio accompanied by a symphony orchestra and it was one of the most beautiful things I ever heard. It is okay to love your child forever. It doesn't mean hanging onto them or controlling them or having untoward feelings toward them -- it simply means loving them unconditionally.
Most of Munsch's stories are based on real events suggested to him by children or families.


Franny Burd Val, thanks for making me feel "not so weird"! I really appreciate it, since it so seldom happens to me! ;)


message 8: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val I don't think you're weird and even if you are I like weird people


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Well, my mother gave each of her kids a copy of it with an inscription that was pretty mushy. She cried while doing this, and was upset when my brother made fun of the book (when the mom sneaks in to the adult son's room). It was a very unpleasant experience for all of us, so yes, I have always found the book to be disturbing and way over the top with the melodrama. (I think we were all teenagers at the time, and not much trained for sentimentality). I much prefer Runaway Bunny as a story of parent love and devotion; although the mother bunny could probably be considered pretty controlling. Maybe bunnies just aren't as creepy as humans crawling into people's bedrooms at night.


message 10: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val We don't stop loving our children because they are adults. There simply doesn't have to be an untoward connotation of this story. I usually find melodrama and sentimentality to be icky but if you ever get a chance to hear this on the CBC radio, they replay it at Christmas time I think, it might change your mind. I simply see it as a representation of unconditional love.


message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary Ooh, I feel just the same, and would love to see your everyone likes them I don't shelf. Mind if I start a group here


message 12: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val great idea Dunderhead!


message 13: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val I just read an interesting review by The Library Lady ". . . I remember a librarian I worked with who liked to read this to pre-school groups. The moms all sobbed gently and the kids ran around ignoring the book . . ." that I am forced to agree with. This book is for Mothers not children.


Molly I definitley think it was meant to be metaphorical, I never even looked at it in the literal sense. I don't think it's creepy that the man rocks his aging mother to sleep, it just continues the theme of unconditional love bound between parent and child.


message 15: by Neligh (new)

Neligh Love this book. The creepy one for me is Runaway Bunny.

While I don't think the idea is to literally take a ladder to your kid's houses and climb in through their windows, I don't think there is anything wrong with an elderly mother wanting to show affection to her grown son.

I do agree with Molly that the book is more for parents than children.


Jessica Yvette, I believe it is symbolic and about unconditional love. I didn't over-analyze it, I liked the flow. I often read it to my son.

I do believe in a parent's unconditional love.


Becky I love this book!


Nikki Young children like a book that repeats itself and is predictable. Out of all the different types of books I've read to my children, they love the ones that constantly repeat the lines over the ones with more of a changing story. My kids love this book because they are able to recite it with me.


Karen B. I loved this book and read it to my daughter over and over again when she was even 10. It took on new meaning to us. Never saw it as creepy. Found it humorous to see the adult son being held by his mother. Loved that the son returned the mother's love in the end.
Oh someone who doesn't like The Giving Tree, besides me!!! Yes please someone start a list of that shelf "everyone likes them ... I don't" shelf. Honestly, I didn't think there were that many people who didn't like The Giving Tree. Makes me feel like I am not alone.


Becky My Mum read this book to me when I was little... I loved it so much


message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Jessica Frank wrote: "Yvette, I believe it is symbolic and about unconditional love. I didn't over-analyze it, I liked the flow. I often read it to my son.

I do believe in a parent's unconditional love."


I agree with Yvette.


Becky I LOVE THIS BOOK


Makaila I Love this book alot.


message 24: by Emily (new)

Emily I love that the son sings the song back to his mother when she is old and sick. I hope to be a child who will never cease to reciprocate the love that my mother had for me, so that when she is old and sick I will be there for her as she was for me, singing, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be."


Makaila So heart felt and very sweet!!


Dianne Danielson I purchased this book for my son when he was a baby. He is now 25 and I have yet to read it to him aloud. Every time I try I start to cry. I found the book in his bedroom when he was in Iraq. At the time I was cleaning out his room and turning it into a nursery for his unborn child. Again - more tears. I don't understand how anyone can read anything sinister into this beloved classic. I know that my son will be there singing the song to me when the time comes and I know he sings the song to his daughter. I am heartbroken for anyone who would take the message of unconditional love from this author and turn it into something treacherous.


Licha Dianne wrote: "I purchased this book for my son when he was a baby. He is now 25 and I have yet to read it to him aloud. Every time I try I start to cry. I found the book in his bedroom when he was in Iraq. A..."

Dianne, I'm so glad you wrote this. I thought I was the only one who cannot finish reading this book out loud because I start crying. Reading some of these posts are making me want to cry thinking about the book. This is one of my favorites and I always buy a copy when I see it on sale and give them as gifts to new parents. I must agree with a lot of the posts here that this is more of an adult book written as a child's story. I think that is why we get so emotional reading it. I'm appalled that anyone would read creep factor into this and it makes me wonder what kind of relationship these people had with their mother. I for one love my mother and I love my daughter and love being a mother so this book just strikes an emotional chord with me. If I think of my mother it saddens me that one day my mother will grow old also and I wish I would do the same and rock her just like the son in the story. I read this to my daughter as a child and I would force myself to read through it cause I would always start crying. She loves the story and we think of it as our story. My intention was to read it to her once a year, even if she older, but I think I would be a little bit embarrased now if I started crying. It really is a favorite of mine. I think people have to look at this book and realize that because it's a children's book it must bring the point across in a simple but clear way. I will pretend that I did not hear anything about a creep factor when it comes to this book.
Did everyone's book come with a CD? I have yet to get one that has the CD mentioned.
Did I mention how much I love this book?


Susan The book was definitely not meant to be taken literally.
Honestly, it's a book written for children (and mothers!) about the unconditional love that exists between parents and children. It doesn't matter how grown-up children get; they're still babies to their parents. The mother's crawling in the bedroom window to rock her sleeping son is something a lot of parents would love to do with their grown-up children. My younger brother is now a foot taller than my mom, but to her, he'll always be a little brown-eyed tow head, and not more than about 5 years old (and I'll always be 7; and the baby will always be 2).


message 29: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Susan, I love your interpretation.


Michele Lacroix I love this book and cry every time I read it. It's especially meaningful to me since I lost my mother.


message 31: by Jean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jean I find it interesting that most comments here end the book with the mother going to hold her adult son. The book ends with the son holding his daughter, after he has gone to comfort and hold his mother. It seems to me that the message here is; WE REAP WHAT WE SOW. The mother loves her son from his infancy to her very old age, when the cycle reverses itself - she is now the one who is unable to care for herself and because of her great love for her son, he knows just how to care for her AND his daughter, who in turn will know how to care for him. Certainly the rocking is metaphorical, but the love the mother expresses is not. Children learn what they live with. If they live with love, they learn to be loving. This is not to say the we love, so we are loved - but to say that because we love, we are loved.


message 32: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Yes Jean, I agree


message 33: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy I am amazed! this post has spanned 4 years. guess it goes to show, we don't all like the same things.
ps: I love this book.


Meryl McKerrow Love the book - not creepy. I think it is written for a child, imagining the thought processes a child goes through. One of those ideas is a need for reassurance, of the fact that they will be loved and feel safe, even as they face the idea of a scary grown-up word. I think the author just takes a child's simple concept of that love - being held etc. and takes it through to the imagined future. Obviously the notions of how love is expressed grow as the child does, but this book is for the very young.


Laura Campbell It's sad how even the most innocent of actions can be translated as perverted by other people. Even if this book is literal, all the mother is doing is rocking her son and telling him how much she loves him.

There are times I wish my mother would do just that. I wish she could still hold me in her arms like that and sing to me. Does that make me incestuous? PLEASE.....

I completely agree with Merly. The book is intended for a child, and a child would understand how to process that love.


message 36: by Lora (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lora I love this book, and my kids responded well to it. It soothed them that when they grew up, they would still have a Mom. They never believed that I would be driving to their house and climbing in their window, but they know right up to this day that I go into their rooms at night and give them a comforting touch and soft words. They're teens, they sometimes pretend to be asleep if they're awake, they say it's embarrassing; when I said I didn't mean to embarrass them and I would stop, both kids said, rather loudly, "NO!"
I have to remind folks of the beautiful passage in Peter Pan where the mother tends each bed, placing the child's thoughts or day (or something) in order as they sleep...That time the feeling was extremely well done. Compared to it, Love You Forever does look clumsy. Especially later in the book, lol.
Yeah, plant me in the camp of Loves this book-Hates Giving Tree!


message 37: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin Val wrote: "We don't stop loving our children because they are adults. There simply doesn't have to be an untoward connotation of this story. I usually find melodrama and sentimentality to be icky but if you e..."

The CBC radio one they play at Christmas is wonderful. My oldest son was born a week before Christmas (21 yrs ago now) and I was home with my newborn baby and heard this book on CBC. Made me cry because I realised exactly how much I would give up for my baby's happiness.

I've never heard anyone say it was creepy and never heard negative comments about the book before stumbling onto this thread here!

I think it is a lovely story about unconditional parental love and I don't think that there is anything wrong with it.


message 38: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin Dianne wrote: "I purchased this book for my son when he was a baby. He is now 25 and I have yet to read it to him aloud. Every time I try I start to cry. I found the book in his bedroom when he was in Iraq. A..."

Dianne: someone gave me this book when my 21 year old son was born and I've saved the copy to give to him when he has his first child. Like you, I can't get through it without tearing up.

I push to do it though, and even sing the song.


message 39: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin Jean wrote: "I find it interesting that most comments here end the book with the mother going to hold her adult son. The book ends with the son holding his daughter, after he has gone to comfort and hold his mo..."

ABSOLUTELY!!!!


message 40: by Tami (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tami I LOVE this book! I read it all the time to my 2 boys. My 3rd was a girl...I read it to her, but I wish he would have written one about a daughter too.


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