I didn’t grow up in an English speaking household. When I first heard the name Dr. Seuss, I was already an adult (legally I mean, mentally is an entirely different question). That’s why I don’t have any nostalgic feelings – or any feelings at all for that matter – about the children’s writer and his books. I just wasn’t interested in anything he had to say. That is until a couple of years ago when I watched the movie Fracture.
It’s a thriller that managed to keep me in a perpetual state of suspense and also a film that you can’t really tell how it’s going to end from the first couple of minutes. Or it’s just another movie where Anthony Hopkins sits in jail and fucks with people, if that’s how you’d like to look at things. In one scene Ryan Goslings sits by the victim’s bed and reads a part of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the places you’ll go!
It’s a beautiful and sad scene and the part about the Waiting place really got to me. Anyone who’s ever waited for anything to happen knows the feeling of weightlessness and timelessness associated with it. It’s a special kind of hell and it takes a while to leave it. By its very nature it doesn’t allow for shortcuts or cheat codes. You just have to stick it out, you have to wait…
I suppose I was stuck in the Waiting place when I decided to buy the book. I thought it can help me get out of it. I don’t know if it did, or if I just moved from one Waiting place to another, but it made me feel better. If I was a kid I would have liked to read it or have my parents read it to me. I think it’s a kind of book that can teach children to be okay with the ups and downs of life and accept failure as a natural part of it. It tells them that sometimes they’ll be on top of the world and sometimes they won’t. And that’s okay, damn it!
I was never really a fan of children’s books. I loved fairy tales when I was little, but that’s about it. But I love the way that this book conveys things in a simple way. And those are some complicated things, mind you. Things like loneliness and self-realisation, and depression, and facing your fears. Thinking about it reminded me of this quote by Madeleine L’Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, which I guess is another children’s book that I’ve read much later in life. Anyway, she said something which I think is lovely and it is this:
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”