Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So I went to buy Munsch's Love You Forever...

Munsch's Love You Forever is one of those children's books - everyone and their aunt has it, talks about it, loves it. And it's one that I'd never owned, or even read.

So, as I was combing the shelves of the bookstore for something new for Oliver's birthday, I picked it up. Well, okay, to be honest, I sought it out. I was under the impression I was missing out on something big. Maybe I was depriving my kids of a literary work of greatness, without which, they might grow up without some vital part of their brain... or something (ridiculous).

I flipped through the book, briefly reading each page. I was instantly captivated by the story and the heart-string-pulling passages:

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

(The mother sings these words as she rocks her baby son to sleep.)

I felt a sudden rush of excitement - the type that comes from the knowledge that the thing you're holding is exactly the right thing and that soon it's going to be yours for keeps.

I almost didn't read any more of the book and started towards the cash register, confident with my purchase.

But then I read on a few more pages...

(If you know the story, just bear with me.)

So the baby son turns into a rambunctious young boy, and then a teenage slob, and so on, and still the mother sings the words... "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always..."

Yes, yes of course she does, I nodded enthusiastically with each page, completely identifying with the mother's unwavering love for her son.

Then, the boy becomes a man and moves into his own house, and the mother climbs through his window at night and crawls across the room to check on him when he's asleep.

Bit stalkerish, but okay. And really, one day I'll probably do the same and it will all end with my son's wife calling the police in the middle of the night mistaking her husband's slightly deranged mother for a dangerous burglar.


Then, the mother gets old and sick and asks the son to come over and see her.

At this point my smile had definitely turned to a frown and I may have looked a little bit horrified and as though I was going to burst into tears.

The mother couldn't finish the song because she was too old and sick.

So instead, the son sings the song to his mother, holding her on his lap, rocking her.

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

I couldn't buy the book. There was no way I'd be able to make it through the book without:

a) turning into a blubbering mess every time I read it.

b) scaring the crap out of my kids that I might turn into stalker-mum when they were older.

c) having to face the subject of sickness and death with my kids who are far too young for that.

Bugger. I'm turning into such a bloody drip. I can't even buy a flippin' book.

I heading straight for that bubble home with the one "happy" TV station and the delivery slot for cupcakes and pizza.
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Midwest Mommy said...

I have never read it. Your description just made me cry. Seriously, I have tears.

Sparkless said...

I got creeped out over the part when she climbs up a ladder into his window. I never understood why people loved this books so much and I have a son.

Heather said...

I've never heard of it before and it sounds a bit creepy to me. the crawling through the window, the old and sick bit. Just wrong, plain old wrong.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Never heard of it before, but like the other commenters, it sounds a bit weird to me... I have enough talk of death and how old will I be when you die in this house (no idea why) without adding to it!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I know this book.

Momma Sunshine said...

I love many of Rober Munsch's works, but this one seriously CREEPS ME OUT. I am NOT a all. I think it's creepy, codependent, and just plain WEIRD for a kid's book. I honestly don't understand why so many people love it so much.

Alice said...

I love the book... and the post just made me weep.

As did American Idol last night for 2 hours, argh pregnancy hormones have got me bad!

Angela said...

Try "Hug" by Jez Alborough. Your boys are about the right age for that, and no questions about getting sick and dying!!

Nick the neighbour said...

I've had that book since Emmett was a baby..I love it but yes I admit I tend towards the crying. I avoid reading it when feeling especially vulnerable. I love that my kids don't mind my horrible singing voice because yes I do sing that song out loud to them!

Lil said...

I have it and do love it. But the part when she climbs through his window to sing to him is a little weird.

lil said...

Oh I also love his other books however the kids in the stories tend to be brats who do not listen to their parents.

Lady Mama said...

Midwest Mommy - oops sorry. That's how I felt though.

Sparkless - Yes I find it kinda creepy too.

Heather - Yup, put me off too.

Brit in Bosnia - There's too much sadness - call me strange but I want my childrens' books to be uplifting.

Yaya - I think I was the last one to learn of it.

Momma Sunshine - I think it's an odd book for a child too.

Alice - Haha - American Idol! Really? I've been watching it wanting to gouge my eyes out!

Nick - It's too sad for me. I'd be sobbing by the end.

Lil - Haha. See!

Anonymous said...

we were given this book when i was pregnant with my first child. she's two now and we've just recently read it for the first time. i couldn't even finish it once i realized where it was going and didn't understand how in the world this was a children's book. kind of like 'the giving tree' (which i love) but far more depressing.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That would do me in. I can't even handle The Giving Tree.

Elaine A. said...

I'd be a puddle on the floor after every read too. I'll just tell my kids I'll love them forever. 'Cause I will...

Glad you read it before you bought it!!

Lady Mama said...

Tiffany - I felt the same confusion that this was a story for a child. I guess it's a personal thing...

Kate - I haven't read The Giving Tree. Sounds like I should avoid that too!

Elaine - Yes, I will just tell them that too!

Karen @ If I Could Escape . . . said...

I was bought that book not long after I had my second son. True, it's a bit stalkerish, but a lovely book!

The Woman who Can said...

Gosh, I've never heard of this - I'm glad my son's 11, and I've missed the window of opportunity!

..... Carmen said...

We were given that book when G was born. I agree with you on point b. It always weirds me out when I read it about this old woman sneaking into her grown sons home to rock him. Where is that man's wife??

James (SeattleDad) said...

Somebody got us that book when Lukas was born and we couldn't keep it. Thought that last part was just too corny.

Ok, this was my wifes decision not mine.

Loukia said...

I have this book, although I never read it to my kids... too emotional! I also tear up every time I read Someday... sadness and so emotional!