Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Stuart Little...random thoughts
Stuart Little by E.B. White.
Okay, I'm just going to keep this one short and sweet. Actually, probably not so sweet, as I really didn't like this book at all. And that's why I'm just going to keep it short. I don't look forward to the hateful comments I may receive for not falling in love with this beloved classic...obviously I'm kidding, as book bloggers are among the sweetest, most courteous people on the planet.
Anyway, I personally find it hard to believe that this story was written by E.B. White. I disliked Stuart Little nearly as much as I adored Charlotte's Web. Maybe my expectations were too high. But I didn't feel like Stuart Little held together as a cohesive whole...it felt more like snippets of stories thrown together. With Stuart as the thread that loosely tied them. And frankly, I didn't find Stuart all that charming a character. (And I certainly have nothing against talking rodents as characters, as I loved Despereaux and Mrs. Frisby and Templeton....) On top of these things, I found parts of the book dreadfully dull, particularly the couple of chapters about the boat race on the pond in the park. I'm sure boating aficionados would have no trouble with this section, but the boys and I didn't understand half the words in there as it was overloaded with sailing jargon.
But speaking of the boys, they had a different take on the book than I did. They rather enjoyed most of it. (Though they didn't enjoy the boat race either.) Gray thought the chapter where Stuart Little played substitute teacher for a day was particularly funny. Max, of course, loved any mention of Snowbell the cat (big surprise, huh?).
Something we all agreed on...the ending was just plain weird. I thought that maybe it was just the grown-up in me that objected to the ending. (Stuart has left his family without a word to them to go in search of a friend, and he obviously has no plans of coming back. This is a family who, by the way, has always cherished him and taken very good care of him.) But it wasn't just the adult viewpoint...Gray and Max both thought it totally weird, too. They simply couldn't believe that the book was over, and asked if there was a sequel.
Surely there is a reason why this book is so well-loved by so many, but it just escaped me. Possibly it was just my mood while reading it. And possibly I just totally missed the boat. But for whatever reason, this book just didn't do it for me. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
By the way, Annie and Rich arrived home from a jog just after the boys and I finished the book last night. She says, "Well, if you wanted to read another good one by E.B. White, you should have read The Trumpet of the Swan, not Stuart Little." Gee, thanks for the timely advice, Annie.
If you have also reviewed this book, feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll post it here. I'd love to see some other points of view! Thanks.
Celebrate the Author Challenge.
Read-aloud to boys.