Jewish Week, Book Reporter, and Streetcorner Library have weighed in on Sima. Good reviews, all. And tonight kicks off my own mini book-club tour. In the next three weeks I have 4 book clubs booked: two in Victoria, and two in NYC. I myself have never been to a book club where the author spoke. Have you? Let me know if so: I’m curious to see how it goes.
In other news, I’m enjoying a short break from midwifery school. Hanging around the girls all the time has been fantastic. Albeit tiring today, as both came into bed at 3am. Which left me wide awake, snuggled in between them but unable to sleep as I sought to remember, and eventually did, Yul Brynner’s name.
(Come on–like you have so many better things to think about at 3am?)
Why Yul Brynner? Well, the girls and I have been watching a lot of Annie. And I kind of assumed that the bald-singing-Daddy Warbuck’s was himself Yul Brunner. I mean, how many bald musical-stars are there? Well, in 1982 apparently there were at least two.
I have mixed feelings about Annie. As I told a friend, it does serve the purpose of helping our children distinguish between abusive-but-ultimately-well-meaning-if-totally-ineffective-alcoholics and true sociopaths. Always an important distinction. And: Annie is smart and brave and kind, defender of stray dogs and crying children, and ultimately, too, Annie is a celebration of the love between fathers & daughters.
And the music is simply fabulous. Really. Just try this, & you’ll remember.
(Oh lord, I seem to be blogging about Annie.)
But here’s the thing: yesterday for the first time Eva understood that Annie’s “real” parents died. “Died?! They died?!”
What surprised me, actually, was realizing that she hadn’t picked up on that before. And her clear distress hit on something that I’ve been wondering about for years, as we’ve watched any number of children’s movies and certainly as we’ve read classic fairytales – is it right to introduce evil to our children? Is it our needs we’re meeting, or theirs?
I caught the tail end of a CBC interview with Neil Gaiman, the author of Coraline the other day. Responding to a question about the function fairytales serve, Gaiman quotes G.K. Chesterton, who apparently said, ”Fairytales do not tell children that there is a boogeyman. Children know there is a boogeyman, they know there are monsters, they know there are dangerous things. What is important is to tell them that the bad thing can be beaten.”
I think I agree. Mostly. Still, I squirm when I see those orphans, or Dorothy watching the sand run through the hourglass in the Wicked Witch’s dungeon, or the dog-catcher in Lady & the Tramp.
And don’t even get me started on Bambi.
Perhaps I’ll bring my inner-debate to tonight’s book club. Which would fit for me my typical book-club participant experience, where you chat about the book for 5 minutes and then let the converstion wander marvelously. Meantime: Tomorrow.