Monday, November 13, 2017

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy (2017)

I loved this book.  I love reading children's literature, and I love reading about he children's literature I loved as a child.  Handy has this apology at the beginning of the book for all of the authors and books that he missed when writing about this book - but I don't think he needed it.  He wrote about the perfect amount of authors and books.  Although I didn't want the book to end - I could have continued reading about his thoughts and research on children's literature for far longer than the book lasted.  Anyone who can  compared Portnoy's Complaint to Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny is a genius in my mind.  There are all sort of literary comparisons here, but not done in a glib way; Handy is as serious as hell about how terrific and literary the very best children's literature is.  He's not fucking around here. 

Bruce Handy feels the same way about so many books I loved as a child and still love as an adult.  He certainly has the same relationship to Narnia as I do. 

He compared The Giving Tree to Midnight Cowboy.  I love this man. I want to be at all the same cocktail parties as he is at, listening to his every word.

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an AdultWild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I were forced to be a stalker, you know, someone put a gun to my head and made me stalk someone, I would have to choose Bruce Handy. I want to follow him around like an imprinted gosling. I want to be at all the same cocktail parties he is at, hanging on his every word. I want him to read bedtime stories to me. I'm in literary love. If you continue to love children's literature as an adult (I do) and love reading about the children's literature you devoured as a book hungry child (that's me),m then you will also fall head over heels in love with Bruce Handy as well. He compared Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny to Portnoy's Complaint - in a way that isn't glib or mean, but brilliant and funny. He compared the characters in The Giving Tree - that hateful, awful book - to the characters in Midnight Cowboy. WTF? He loves Narnia. Charlotte's Web continues to make him weep. He made me re-read The Cat in the Hat for the first time in 40 years; he made me read Goodnight Moon for the first time ever. I did not want this book to end. I'm in literary love, until the next gobsmackingly brilliant author new to me rolls around. Until then, I will be thinking only of you, Mr. Bruce Handy.


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