My son came home from grade school today with a book his class started reading together. When he pulled it out of his backpack, I shuddered.
Of all the books they could have picked to read as a class, it had to be what I consider the most depressing children's book of all time? I read Old Yeller in 3rd grade and cried my eyes out at the ending. I've hated the book ever since.
Just over the weekend, Josh was saying he had to read a short book to get the rest of his Accelerated Reader points...and I said, "Well, choose anything but Old Yeller. You don't want to read that book.''
And today he comes home with it as a class reading project.
I jinxed him.
Knowing my son and his love for animals, I spoiled the ending. Immediately.
I told him to be prepared. The dog dies. I don't want him to be surprised. Might as well spoil the end and save him the sadness. I did tell him not to say anything to his classmates. I will only spoil the story for my own child.
I realize the book is considered a classic. And I remember liking it up until the gun shot at the end. I can name a lot of books that are more uplifting and worth 4th graders reading together than Old Yeller. It's just too depressing. Can't they choose happy books? Something uplifting....something about a kid that invented something or made a difference in others' lives.....something with a happy ending....or just about ANYTHING else.
I love books. But, Old Yeller is the one book I have sworn for more than 37 years to never, ever read again.
It's almost funny that I just told Josh not to read the book.....then 2 days later, they send it home with him. Sigh. We take turns reading out loud from his school library books every night. It's part of our bedtime ritual. Which means....I have to read the damn thing again. Slowly. One chapter at a time. Go over discussion questions. Help with review for quizzes. I have to grit my teeth, smile and read the one book I haven't picked up by choice since I was 9 years old.
I love my son so much more than I hate that book. And I respect his teacher, so I will do what's right. Even read....That Book.
I HATE THE BOOK!! Really?? They had to choose the ONE BOOK I can't stand??? Vent, vent, whine, cry......whimper.
I will put on my big girl pants and get through this.
At least my son won't get a surprise at the end. This is one case where spoilers suit me just fine.
But......it does mean that the book is a classic. A work of art. Any novel that can illicit emotions in someone so deep that they refuse to even look at that book again for nearly 40 years....well, it must be crafted quite well, right??
(I still hate it..... ) :)