Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Giving Tree? or The Taking Tree?

Last night I was feeling frustrated with my relationship with some of my family members, so I asked one of my co-workers what she thought about their behavior (which has resulted in me feeling unappreciated).

"Have you read The Taking Tree?", she asked.

"I don't think so...", I said.

"Have you read The Giving Tree?", she asked.

"Yeah, of course," I said.

"I HATE The Giving Tree!", she said. "The tree in The Giving Tree is a complete doormat! What an awful message in a book." She shook her head.

I laughed. "The Giving Tree IS kind of a doormat," I said. "I hadn't thought about it that way. Interesting that you said that. I left my marriage in large part because I needed not to be a Doormat Wife. With my brother I am trying not to be Doormat Sister. And with my kids I'm trying not to be Doormat Mom. I haven't completely gotten there yet."

"In The Taking Tree, there's a boy and a tree, and the boy takes and takes and takes, but it has a REALLY different ending."

We went to find the book in the store. And it does indeed have a different ending! The Taking Tree is the anti-doormat.

Here's the description from the publisher...

We all know the story of the "selfless" tree that gave all she had just to make sure a young boy was "happy". Snore. This is a different tree. This is a different boy. This is a very different book. The Taking Tree is not so happy when the boy takes her twigs to pick on his sister, or takes her apples to sell for college (she's an oak tree for goodness sake), or when he cuts off her branches to build a house that he burns for insurance money. And the boy is not sorry at all. Ever. In fact, he's kind of a jerk. And the boy asks for more, and more, and more until the oak tree is so fed up she just can't take it any longer. While another story might end sweetly with an old man sitting on a stump. This one does not.

"I don't know what to tell you about your situation," she said. "You could maybe give them this book!", she said.

"I may just do that," I said, not sure that's the answer, but really glad to have a laugh about it.

        The Giving Tree 40th Anniversary Edition Book with CD     

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