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November 10, 2005

The Giving Tree v. Stick Kid

I have a masters in literature, so I am prone to deconstructing texts, as they say. ("They" being a handful of devoted but marginalized academics.) Since becoming a mother, however, it is a rare moment when I close a novel, turn to Edward and say, "Another good read, honey." Because I don't pick up novels anymore, much less finish them. I read one or two good articles from The New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times Magazine a month and flip through endless "womens" magazines while churning away on cardio equipment at the Berkeley Y. I did read Jonathon Franzen's impressive (almost obnoxiously so) Corrections a year or two back. And I always read David Sedaris' books when they come out.

But in the four years since Georgia made me a mother, I've really specialized in children's literature. 100 books later, I've found something special. Stick Kid, by Peter Holwitz. It is this generation's The Giving Tree, minus the rotten, self-centered child who never, not even as an old man, acknowledges that marytr of a tree for it's selflessness.

Stick Kid captures the feelings of parenthood, from the amazement of the first act to the nostalgia and pride of the final act. It is a love story, a healthy one, and although I still can't read The Giving Tree without getting choked up, I am relieved to have Stick Kid in the daily line up around here.