Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss


One of the annoying things about English not being my first language is that I missed out on a lot of popular children's books. And the thing is, when you do get to read them as an adult, you are fully aware you're not experiencing them as you were meant to - there are a great many books beloved by English speaking people which I read and go, "Oh, okay, was that it?"

Not the Grinch, though!
I got this book for Christmas, last year, a gift from a friend of mine from the USA. And I loved it!!

It must be said that the Grinch, himself, is probably responsible for my love for this book.
This... creature, lives in a cave and spends his time hating a whole village. You may think this is sad, but think about it. Can you imagine the dedication it takes to hate a single person? The Grinch hated a whole village! 
Yeah, yeah, hate is bad and blah blah... but the commitment! I can barely bring myself to dislike someone! Too much effort! The Grinch spends 53 years doing nothing but hate.

And through the eyes of a child, admittedly, the Whos don't seem to do anything to earn the dislike the Grinch harbours for them - but hear me (well, read me) out!
Would you like your neighbours to "wake bright and early" and then produce "NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!"?
Would you like your neighbours to stand hand in hand and "SING! SING! SING! SING!"?
Now imagine this for 53 straight years - the hate building and building, choking you.
The Grinch decided to put an end to Christmas. I wouldn't have been so kind.

Another thing to admire: I don't know the life expectancy of a creature such as the Grinch, but he's been living on his own for 53 years. Let's assume he spent at least 20 years with his Grinch parents. That would make him about 73 years old. Does he shy away from taking on such an exhausting enterprise as putting a stop to Christmas? He does not! I wouldn't have been able to summon the energy to do so at 23, let alone in my 70's!

Furthermore, obstacles which would dispirit a weaker soul face the Grinch: such as a lack of reindeer - which, with an astounding presence of mind, he quickly substituted for his dog Max - I can't teach my dog to roll over, but the Grinch taught his to pull a sleigh!

How quickly can you break into a stranger's house and steal their stuff? Personally, I've never attempted this, but if I had to hazard a guess I'd have to say, "somewhere around 5 hours to never, assuming the door wasn't locked." But the Grinch, in his 70's, steals from an entire village! This fine example of perseverance in the shape of a Grinch even stole the Christmas trees!

He's even caught by one Who and, in the words of the author himself: "(...) that old Grinch was so smart and so slick / He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!"
I couldn't lie to save my life. If someone caught me in their house at night, stealing their stuff, and I had to lie my way out of it, I'd start drafting my version of Orange is the New Black. I can't do it! My mind isn't that swift! The Grinch, however, kept his cool - not only did he lie, he convinced the Who to serve him a beverage, as if he were an honoured guest. Then he left through the chimney, and get this!, he even stole the log from the fire! How badass is that?!

So, why only 4 stars, you ask.

Because I was deeply saddened by how the Grinch ended up succumbing to peer pressure.
Such a pernicious message to send to impressionable young minds...


Dr. Seuss' official page

Buy How The  Grinch Stole Christmas
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery!)



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