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A Review of "Gerald McBoing Boing"

You know, Dr. Seuss books are very different when you read them as an adult.  They should probably print them with a disclaimer.

I have lately been reading Gerald McBoing Boing to Lulabelle.  The book's not shy about explaining that it's based on an Academy Award-winning cartoon, but I've never seen it.  (Youtube to the rescue, I guess, but let's table that.)


It's the story of Gerald McCloy, a child who, sadly, is born without the ability to speak.  Instead, he can express himself only through sound effects like boing boing or boom.  This drives his parents, teachers, and classmates crazy, so he decides to run away and become a hermit.  Just before he can skip town, though, a producer offers him a job, and Gerald becomes a rich celebrity making sound effects for radio shows.

On the face of it, this is a delightful story about a silly situation that teaches kids that the things that make you different or strange can define your future if you use them to your advantage.  If I could just read it that way, I'd love it and I'd recommend it to everyone.

...but I just can't.  It's such a miserable story.

Let me reiterate an important point.  This is the story of a kid who wants to run away to become a hermit, and who only remains in town because of the allure of fame and riches.  The happy ending of the story - at least in the book - is not that he realizes his parents love him, but that he makes a lot of money.

So... fuck this story, man.  What a terrible book for kids.

Like, would it have been so hard to insert one extra stanza, Ted?  You couldn't put a little thing in there where Gerald's parents felt bad that they pushed him away, and they never want to leave him again, and then Gerald becomes rich and famous?  Here, let me do it for you:

And Mr. McCloy, that worrisome chum,
Came running to find his sad, lonesome son.
"Come home, my dear boy.  We miss you!  We're worried!
You always have a home!  Come back!  Please hurry!

Or something to that effect.  That took me five minutes.  You're the genius kids' book author - workshop that shit and make an ending that doesn't teach kids that a life without friends or family is fine just as long as you make bank.  Way to preach the shittiest possible values to the youth of America.

Where's the sequel where Gerald pulls a Richard Cory and shoots his brains out across his limo when he realizes his wealth is just a shallow decoration for his withered and hollow soul?

What a fucking crock.

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