Adam and Allison Grant rewrite children’s books and much fiction: “Noble deed doers, you should first lecture the victims and help them help themselves more otherwise you are an enabler…”

OK I’m making fun a little, but their essay on The Giving Tree just rubs me the wrong way. Instead of marveling at the moral ambiguity of the book, the impulse is to “fix” it by explaining to you child what the right “lesson” is. Assume your child will take away the “wrong” lesson, too.

But my book club just finished reading and discussing The Big Sleep, and I guess I do not think the novel would have been very good if Marlowe had taken a few days off after telling Vivian, “Eddie Mars and his crew play too rough: I think I’m risking too much of my self for values I am not sure I can articulate, I need some me time and I’ll get back to you later…”

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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