Saturday, October 31

Wild Things

Although these days I'm only dimly aware that people continue to make and release movies, somehow or another I know that a film version of Where the Wild Things Are is now out in theaters. Manohla Dargis's review in the New York Times intrigues me, and I generally admire the work of (director and co-writer) Spike Jonze and (co-writer) Dave Eggers, but I doubt that Beckett and I will be paying the sitter for a night out to go see the adaptation. The visual and verbal poetry of the original are perfect; no other children's book is as pleasurable to read aloud (although the closing cadences of Goodnight Moon come close). I'm not sure that I want anything more than just what Sendak gave us.

I also love the book for its portrayal of the relationship between Max and his mother. I suspect that Max's mother is a wild thing, like her son. After all, she is the first to yell, in an all-caps roar: "WILD THING!" And, like spanking, sending a child to bed without his supper seems to me to be more likely done in anger or desperation than for any other reasons (and certainly not for any good ones). So it comforts me to know that Max nevertheless knows that she loves him "best of all." Because I, too, am a wild thing — or, in contemporary parlance, "spirited" — and there have been days when I have been lonely, exhausted, and under pressure to meet a deadline, and my tamped-down spirit has let out an angry roar at my poor little Critter.

Please please please little fellow, know that I do indeed love you best of all!

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