This book review is now available on my blog at Yes the boy is a selfish bastard who doesn t deserve the love and generosity he gets time and again Anyone who read this book as a child is well aware of this factNonetheless I m shocked to see how many disliked it My only thought is that many readers allow their hatred for the boy to be confused with hatred for the book Does the book condone the boy s behavior or simply seek to tell a narrative Does the uality of a book suffer when the moral uality of its characters flagsIt is the job of narrative to relate a story It is the job of a classic to relate a timeless story to which countless readers of any age can relate So whence the hatred Is it because so many readers have known eople who have taken and taken with such unrelenting fervor that they then displace this hatred onto a book that merely tells a story so fundamental it can t help but arouse feelings in any human who reads itSilverstein in my opinion reached his eak with this book so simple and so Motivational Perspectives on Chronic Pain pure and timeless than any book I can think of at the moment I know that manyeople have a sentimental love for this book and I respect that you can t rationalize emotional connection And generally I like this author But with this book since it inspired no real emotional response in me I am left with only the rational erspective which in me was this This book troubles me deeply because it enshrines self destructive and self itying martyrdom as the aragon of love for others And I think there is already far too much of this in our society This book seems to say that if you really love someone else you will damage yourself cripple yourself tear down your boundaries destroy yourself for them And further it implies that those who are loved must by nature use and devour those who love them An incredibly unhealthy model for love and relationships especially for a child s book I am a arent of two and though many Puta parents have offered up this book as representative of the true nature ofarental love I cannot agree If I were to raise my children this way I feel I would only be teaching them to take selfishly from those who love them to use eople up and always expect and on the flip side I would be teaching them that if they love someone then they have to give of themselves until it hurts have to live without boundaries of any kind Instead of raising my kids this way I feel it s important to teach them to respect those who love them and care for them to not take from others so much that it damages I feel it s important to teach them that even in love we all must maintain our boundaries our integrity I feel it s important that my kids and all kids really understand that real healthy love does not demand destruction or diminishment of anyone involved in it that in fact real and healthy love ultimately heals and builds up those who articipate in it I suppose that this book may have been intended as an anti lesson an example of how NOT to behave But If So Then It if so then it not made clear that this was the case because most Killer Games people who read this book seem to take it as an ideal example of love Certainly it sossible to not take it so seriously but when the underlying message and hilosophy is so concentrated and heavy handed it s hard to avoid tasting it in every assageIt reminds me of that other beloved childhood book about love where the young boy s mother is so obsessive about cuddling him and tucking him in at night that even as he gets older and older she follows him around sneaks into his college dorm sneaks into his home as an adult takes him from his bed with his wife still sleeping and reassures him herself that he ll always be my baby shudderOverall Sweet but to the oint of being cloying and a disturbing message The Giving Tree will rip your heart out in 621 wordsWe all know and love Shel Silverstein for his whimsical oems but The Giving Tree is both one of the saddest and most hopeful stories ever told Pure and utter genius this one is Please visit our blog at wwwtwogalsandabookcom to see this and other reviews The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a must read for children It s a story Co dependent tree needs to set some fucking boundaries HEY KIDS AND SHEL SILVERSTEIN FANS COME OVER HERE AND READ THISOkay this some motherfuckin fucked up shit right here The Giving Tree is the straight up wack story of how this selfish little ass faced Cocksure prick kicks it with this full on saintly tree Ever thin fine for a while y all with the lilrick all gettin up in there an sayin to the tree Yeah you know you mah bitch but then all of a sudden "This Jumped Up Prick " jumped up Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry (Bold Women of the 18th Century, prick throughuberty get his chia on or some such shit and so he s off screwin the skank ass bitches on the block all damn day and can t spare one motherfuckin minute for this Porto Bello Gold poor old tree who waitin for him and lookin all motherfuckin sad an droopy an shit So this littleunk ass bitch come up on the tree this is a motherfuckin tree hear and ask her cuz she a sexy ass lady tree fo some g s Well the tree is all like I ain t got no cash bitch What art o me say ATM on it Mmm hmmm I thought so And she shoulda held up there but no this tree gets all fuckin benevolent and be like Well I got mad apples you can go hustle on the streets So this ass faced rick just like boosts all these goddamn apples an leaves this tree with like its weave all out an shit So next after workin the streets wit his crew little bitch boy come back lookin all older an jacked up and ask the motherfuckin tree for a goddamn crib So the. Once there was a treeand she loved a little boySo begins a story of unforgettable erception beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel SilversteinEvery day the boy would come to the tree to Tree like Hol up Do you even fuckin see Coldwell Banker all up an down in here I think not But then being all kindly an shit the tree is like But I got mad branches And what She motherfuckin takes it up back again fo this fool Later another goddamn time unk ass bitch come back lookin all old an saggy and wack now and he like Bitch what you got fo me now Awww hell naw tree says but then she start gettin all soft an shit again an say Why don you cut down my trunk or some such shit and go head and whittle a imped out yacht full on Hamptons style He like Yeah I thought so bitch And then guess the fuck what little shriveled up Kaki vojaki: roman v rimah in slikah played out mack come on back wit his ass all hemorrhoided up an shit He look straight up nasty and old Tree is like I know you ain t come t ask me All s I got is a motherfuckin stump you ass faced motherfucker How you gon come back at me like that Thisunk ass bitch is all drooling and jacked up and just wanna sit the hell down What do the motherfuckin tree do She say Hell no You motherfuckin fucked up fucker get yo motherfuckin ass face out o here fo I cut you up good give you some stank ass mad tree fungus motherfucker The motherfuckin end motherfuckers Okay so that s not really the way The Giving Tree ends but maybe it s the way it should Some time ago my ex girlfriend and afterward long time co dependent friend gave me The Giving Tree as Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia part of my birthday gift I loved it but I hated it too because I felt so bad for the tree who is endlessly shat upon by this worthless Boy as he is always known regardless of age I longed to console the tree and maybe a little to condemn this book as yet another emotionally scarring children s entertainment in the manner of Old Yeller Don t give me any shit about learning valuable lessons The only lesson I learned was that human beings are nothing but steamingiles of corn freckled feces and that I wanted to found a not for rofit shelter for unloved trees and rabid dogs and any other nonhuman thing living or not which was either unwanted or despised Having said all this and although I don t approve of the treatment of the giving tree this book is very moving and very delicate The delicacy is somewhat counteracted when the reader turns over the book and sees the author hotograph of a thoroughly evil looking Shel Silverstein He looks like the sort of erson who would burn down whole forests of rare giving trees just for kicks Picture Othello just before he strangles Desdemona If you and yes I m talking to you ersonally are not moved by the Bear Boy plight of the tree after reading this book thenerhaps it s time to go an check yo self are you the givin tree or are you the motherfuckin takin tree Or are you the sneak out in the middle of the night an steal all my shit tree So it is Christmas time and my wife likes to have all of us my wife and I and our three years old twins do a different event each night during Advent as a family I like this Black Women in White America practice it is little things like this that keep our family strong Tonight s event was reading Christmas themed booksWe decided to read THE GIVING TREE as well as three other Christmas books Had I foreseen what was about to transpire I would have omitted THE GIVING TREE from my selectionAllow me to replay said eventThe setting Mommy and Daddy s bedAfter a torturous time of getting my kids to brush their teethut on their ajamas and convinced that they should only bring two stuffed animals apiece to bed I began to read the books The first book went well The kids laughed My wife and I smiled The second book was just as good as the first book just as good as the first book laughter More smiles Then it was time for THE GIVING TREE Now I ve read all of Shel Silverstein s books I find them uite enjoyable and zany and creative THE GIVING TREE was no different Or so I thought You see I never really aid much attention to the story Well that s not entirely true I have always liked the message about giving when others are constantly taking And Christmas time is a erfect time to share this message But my son Noah interpreted the book differently As I "read the book I focused on how the little boy grows into a man and loses his innocence of giving " the book I focused on how the little boy grows into a man and loses his innocence of giving on a selfish attitude My son saw the boy growing older When the tree gave everything but its stump to the boy as a man I saw this as a generous message of charity Noah saw it as the man killing the tree But that s not allAn excerpt of the nightMe The End That was a good storyNoah I didn t like itMe Why The tree was very generous and the man realized that he had only taken and never given backNoah Staring blankly at me as if I had just finished reading him my bank statementMe What didn t you like about the storyNoah The boy grows old and kills the tree and is now going to dieMe Inwardly SSSSSHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTT The death subjectMe No honey The tree gave its branches and trunk to the man Noah The boy killed the tree And now the boy is old and is going to dieMe No buddy The tree just changed And the little boy lived a long life Noah And now he is going to dieMe FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK Inwardly of course So having no other way to combat my son s determination to rove that the tree was murdered and that the little boy was now an old man and was going to die soon I did what every father should do in this matterMe Ask Mommy what she thinks buddy Scrolling down it seems several reviewers resent this book s apparently heavy handed message about selfishnessselflessness I can totally understand why they find it upsetting or. At her apples swing from her branches or slide down her trunkand the tree was happy But as the boy grew older he began to want from the tree and the tree gave and gave and gaveThis is a tender story touched with sadnes. Sappy Overbearing even But I don t agreeSome fascinating theories have been ut forth about The Giving Tree It s deceptively simple on its surface yes But if this were truly just some hard and fast hippie dippy morality tale would its two main characters living natural tree growing human boy and their relationship have weathered such extensive interpretation over the yearsProfessor Timothy Jackson from Stanford University found on Wiki Is this a sad tale Well it is sad in the same way that life is sad We are all needy and if we are lucky and any good we grow old using others and getting used up Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised however it is what makes giving and receiving ossible The you blame the boy the you have to fault human existence The you blame the tree the you have to fault the very idea of arenting Should the tree s giving be contingent on the boy s gratitude If it were if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young then we would all be doomedAn admirable assessment from a theologian although as a wee grub my erception was different My own folks secular humanist scientists who taught me a recycle reduce reuse mantra at around age four introduced me to The Giving Tree around the same time we started reading The Lorax Another seminal doozy Perhaps due to their influence on my early development I came away from both books with a lot of very heavy Fragen Und Wege Zur Rechtseinheit in Deutschland persistent uestions concerning humanity s careless attitude towards ye olde Mother Earth Without uestion we re a species that generally takes and takes from the environment thanklessly and thoughtlessly Sadly this seems to be a trend that will continue until both we and the earth s resources are completely exhausted That is unless we can all somehow convince ourselves AND our kids to turn it aroundEver notice that throughout the course of the tale the little boy just wants things from the tree Only at the very end of his life does he actually need something from her alace to rest for a moment to be at eace Anyhoo Aspects of human behavior introduced to me in this book continue to flummox and obsess me in adulthood Rereading it now only reinforces my lifelong desire to give something back to our weary but still beautiful mother earth who seems to have no choice but to submit to our endless takingSilverstein fable is empathetic and open ended At its core it reflects humanity s short sighted often lifelong inability to distinguish want from need but it does not damn us for it I recently read this book to my little boy It s not the first time I ve read it It s robably not even the tenth time But it s the first time I ve read the book in a decade and given the fact that my memory is like a cheese grater I like to think I got a Ones and Zeroes pretty fresh experience The result is this I honestly don t know how I feel about this book Even if you haven t read the story yourobably know the gist of it A tree loves a young boy and gives away ieces OF ITSELF TO THE BOY TO itself to the boy to the boy happy On one hand this story can be taken as an open honest exhortation toward selfless Agape style love Love which asks nothing Love which gives everything On the other hand this story can be read as a horrifying condemnation of dysfunctional unreuited co dependance After reading the book I honestly don t
"know which it "which it On one hand taking this book at face value is robably a fool s game Silverstein was a twisted sarcastic bastard He wrote lyrics for Dr Hook Most notably Freaking at the Freaker s Ball And back in my misspent youth I discovered a Kluge poem of his in one of my Dad s Playboys It was called The Great Pot Smoke Off Myoint is dude was Hugh Hefner's Playboy, 6 Volumes (Collectors) part of the counterculture He was full of mocking and meta And as such it seems odd that he would write something that seems like an obvious endorsement of Christ like selflessness and then that was itBut on the other hand when Silverstein was having fun with you he usually didn tussyfoot around One of his earliest The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources publications was Uncle Shelby s ABZ book Which looks like a kid s book but is clearly not Here s aiece from the age on Potty Training See the ottyThe The Journal of Latrobe; Being the Notes and Sketches of an Architect, Naturalist and Traveler in the United States from 1796 to 1820 (Burt Franklin ,) potty is deepTheotty has water in the bottom Maybe someone will fall into the Menace of Club Mephistopheles potty and drown Don t worry As long as you keep wetting yourants you will never drown in the Practical Programming pottyNot a lot of ambiguity here His tongue isretty clearly in his cheek But when I read through The Giving Tree I don t see the author winking at me from behind the scenes The story seems to be straightforward But here s the thing even if the story is straightforward I don t know how I feel about it Is the boy selfish in the story Absolutely He s a little shit Yet he doesn t get one bit of comeuppance We kinda want him to but that s not what happens The boy doesn t seem to learn a lesson And neither does the tree That seems to imply there is no lesson to be learned here Let s be clear The tree is happy at the end of the book There s no ambiguity about that It s entirely ossible that the tree has acted in its own best interest It s entirely ossible that the tree if you ll forgive the expression is acting according to the LethaniEven after thinking it over for a couple days still I don t know it over for a couple days still I don t know I feel about it That s a rarity for me For that reason I m giving this five stars If you write a book that leaves me asking uestions If you write a book that Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America people can have legitimate disagreements about If you write a book thateople can still wrangle over after fifty years that s retty clearly a five star book. S aglow with consolation Shel Silverstein has created a moving arable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in retu.