Probably many people adore the book Love You Forever and get weepy and emotional when they read it. Not me. My parents have a copy of the book at their house, and whenever one of the kids chooses it, my dad and I like to tease my mom by singing the song in a ridiculously jaunty tune not in keeping with the tone of the book. I don’t think I have a heart of stone, but I find the book weird and creepy. I get what the author is trying to say, but this book just doesn’t do it for me.
If the title isn’t ringing a bell for you, you might know it because it was the book Joey from Friends used for his dramatic reading when he forgot to buy a gift for Rachel’s baby’s first birthday. It begins with a mother rocking her baby boy and singing,
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.
Then it talks about the mom singing the song to her son as he grows up, even though he does typical kid stuff that drives her crazy. It’s all perfectly fine and lovely until they get to the teenage years: “But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.” Then, when he’s an adult, she would drive to his house in the middle of the night, climb through the bedroom window, and pick him up and sing her song. And then they are apparently estranged for a number of years (maybe because her poor daughter-in-law was at her wits’ end with all of the B&E), such that the mom has to call him out of the blue to tell him that she’s sick and on her deathbed.
Again, I’m not oblivious to the author’s point, but I think the mom’s actions are so bizarre. Where are the boundaries? She’s a stalker! Or maybe we’re supposed to think she has dementia. Not that I’m laughing about dementia. That’s definitely not funny. But it would make it easier to understand where she’s coming from. But if that’s the case, why isn’t the son looking after her better? In any case, the question still remains: couldn’t Robert Munsch have come up with any other way to discuss the love parents have for their grown children?
Well, then I happened to read about how Munsch came up with the song, which he apparently wrote after he and his wife had two stillborn babies. Okay, that made me feel like a Grinch for a little while. But since it’s not so much the song I have a problem with, as much as the bizarre dynamics as the son grows up, I’m going to stick with my first reaction to the book.
Of course, if you happen to love the book, you should ignore me. After all, what do I know? I snicker every time I read Runaway Bunny and the rabbits say, “blow you/me.”