by Shel Silverstein
My three year old has just discovered the Shel Silverstein books on our bookshelf, so I have read The Giving Tree to her about ten times in the last six days, and its been on my mind. It is a simple story about the friendship between a tree and a boy. At first the boy comes to the tree to play and eat her apples. As he gets older, he has different desires and takes her fruit, branches, etc to use for things. In the end, the boy is old and the tree is just a stump. When I was younger, I thought this was a beautiful story about selfless, unconditional love like that of the Christ story or a mother for her child, always giving and never needing anything more than love in return. Now I'm not so sure; reading it again as an adult it makes me pause. It could also be seen as a one-sided, almost abusive relationship; the boy takes everything and what does he do for the tree? Why does she have to say she's sorry she has no more apples or branches? He took them all away! It makes me feel kind of sad; but I guess that's how life is sometimes. Love isn't always evenly reciprocated; sometimes it's sad, and sometimes there's peace in the end anyways.
Rating: 3/5 ......... 64 pages, 1964