Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Character Assassination Carousel: Love You Forever

One of my favorite bloggers, Ninja Mom, started this cool meme over at her blog. It's called the Character Assassination Carousel, and it allows me to verbally assault a piece of obnoxious children's literature. Because, seriously, IT'S ABOUT TIME.




Anyway, last month, she picked apart that bratty little shit from The Giving Tree. This month, I've been tagged and I'm about to go off on that bizarre, creepy-ass mother-son relationship from Love You Forever. OH YEAH, YOU KNOW THE ONE.

*****

Now, listen. I love my boys just as much as any other neurotic, emotionally unstable mother out there. However, the love that the mother has for her child in THIS book? It's NOT NATURAL. It's not natural, and it's probably illegal in several states.

The story starts off well enough. The mother is rocking her newborn and singing him some silly little song:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be.

Sure, ok. It's a little Hand-that-Rocks-the-Cradle, if you ask me, but I can't begrudge a woman her sleep-deprived delusions. I'm sure she just fe--- OH MY GOD. DON'T MOVE. A DINGO IS ABOUT TO EAT YOUR BABY. (Or, maybe it's a possum? Hallucination? Sure, let's go with that one.)



Well, the story quickly fast-forwards to like age two, and I find myself rapidly losing my patience with this author. The next page goes on and on about all the things this punk has destroyed, infected, or otherwise, but that evening, the mother is still singing her crazy little song. Except now? Now the kid is in a bed and MY GOD WHY IS SHE CRAWLING?!


Let's just turn the damn page. I can't even...

Actually, we'll turn several and I'll spare you a few chapters, because it's all more of the same. The kid gets bigger. I'm pretty sure he picks up a drinking problem. The mom is still a creeper. I have a feeling she's not taking her medication. Because now the kid's like 18, and the mother goes into his room at night, picks his teenaged ass up and rocks him, all while singing her little Baby Jane diddy. And we all feel nervously criminal for having witnessed the whole dynamic.

::shudder::

Turn a few MORE pages and now the boy is grown and moving out of the house. Naturally, he just moves across town because YOU KNOW that Mother is all BUT WHAT WILL I DOOOOOOO WITHOUT YOUUUUUU?! And, right on cue, the moment the grown man is in his new home, Mother gets in her car WITH A LADDER. A LADDER TO CLIMB INTO HIS WINDOW. This? This is a dateline special, people. All that's missing is the security camera footage from Home Depot when she bought the large tarp and fifty gallon barrel for the body disposal process.



Are we all picturing this old woman lifting a huge ass ladder to the roof of her station wagon under the veil of darkness? Are you now picturing her undoing the bungee cords in her son's driveway and climbing the damn thing IN HER DRESS AND HEELS?!

Okay, just making sure we're on the same page. (Also, it looks like the dingo has spawned.)

Luckily (kind of), the storyline takes a turn after this bizarre incident and the mother begins to fall ill. There's a moment when she calls the man for a visit, and he ends up rocking HER on his lap. Circle of life and all that. Or is it the cycle of abuse? Hard to tell. No, WAIT, it's totally easy to tell, because that evening, the grown-ass man sings that creepy song back to his mother.

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as you're living--WHOOPS!

As long as *I'M* living,
my Mommy you'll be.

COME ON! Do men even SAY Mommy without twitching or being forcibly asked to join a child's tea party? I'd wager that'd be a NO.

OH! AND THEN! THEN! He goes home and sings it to a SPONTANEOUSLY CONCEIVED LITTLE GIRL! And nary a wife, partner, or surrogate in sight! (Here is where we all picture the shrinks who are reading this book with little dollar signs filling their field of vision.)

So, anyway, that's the end, kids. Moral of the story? Well, we've got a creepy mother who loses her identity to her child and is unable to reclaim that sense of self, and relives her mother role up until her dying breath. Oh, and the creepy son who, you know, ENJOYS IT ALL.

Now might be the time to tell you that this story was written by a man.

Kinda makes sense now, doesn't it?

__________

(Next month, look forward to the next installment of Character Assassination Carousel with Allison from Motherhood, WTF?)

30 comments:

  1. Just shared this on FB because I know my very snarky parental friends will get a huge laugh. So true! All of it!

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  2. Good one! Thanks for putting into words all my uncomfortable feelings about this book. I sort of feel like taking a shower after thinking about this book. But no amount of soap and water can scrub away the creepiness of it all.

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  3. Haha, love it. I always liked the beginning of this book, but you nailed it, so creepy the further it gets. If my son flushed that expensive watch down the toilet, I would most certainly not be sneaking up to him in his room to hug him. It would be to scare the bejeebus out of him. Rightfully so :)

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  4. Phew! I thought it was just me! My best friend gave me this book when I had my first child - she dedicated it to the memory of my father who had just passed. The first time I read it I was thinking WTF???? It is one of the creepiest children's book! She is a teacher, and said it's one of her favorite books - I just don't get it! Needless to say, I didn't read it to my kids much.

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  5. That first picture with the woman and the baby - the baby looks like a turkey. Am I just seeing things? I'm shivering! Shivering I tell you!

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  6. I've never actually read this book myself, but came THIS close to purchasing it for a friend for her baby shower. I didn't because I assumed someone else would. Now I'm so glad that I didn't! I totally missed the wackadoo moment with the mom climbing through the window while I was skimming through it. Thank you for the warning about this one!

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  7. Holy crap. You killed it! This is perfect. I started the CAC to further my plans for bloggy domination (naturally), but it looks like there's an unintended consequence: Public service. You have performed admirably, saving possibly hundreds, maybe thousands of people from the horrors of "Love You Forever." I think there are Nobel Prizes in your future---all of them.

    Fave bits: Home Depot, WHOOPS!. I rarely reread things (lazy) but I'm making an exception today.

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  8. I got two--TWO--copies of this gem when I had my first son. In my hormone fueled delusions it was sweet enough to make me cry. Then I read it without the hormone colored glasses and wow, creepy much? Talk about stalker tendencies. Thanks for the review.

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  9. Perfect! I can't stand this book. A friend (that doesn't have children) bought it for me when I had my first son. I flipped through it, thought it to be a little strange, then donated it. :)

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  10. frightening. seriously frightening. and why is that grown ass man sleeping in a twin bed? i mean, i get the kitten. we have a kitten and it snuggles with awesome husband at night. kittens are teh bestest.

    but a TWIN BED??? i bet his mom killed his dad and ate him. if this man had a halfway decent male influence in his life, this would not be happening. i mean, HALFWAY decent. even if he was an alcoholic dad, it would have been okay.


    not that i condone alcoholism.... errr...

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  11. Not on my "reading" radar. No wonder there are so many "mama" boys out there. Your description of the book definitely highlights the creepy factor of it.

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  12. I'd like to see one about that senile ol' poo in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

    This was HILARIOUS stuff, by the way. I almost peed all over my desk. Don't ask me how the pee would get from my pants onto my desk... I haven't figured that out yet.

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  13. This reminds me of Dave Barry dissecting and making fun of Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." So funny, but so wrong, for the sheer sacred nature of the text. :)

    I love this story and have always taken it as metaphorical. The point isn't that the mom is creepy and sneaking into her son's room when he's a grown up, the point is that no matter how old any of us gets, our moms and dads will always be our moms and dads. And that's true. No matter if you're too big to cradle in mom's arms, she will always have been the one who did. And there's comfort in that, for most of us.

    Come on. Before all you commentators just toss this book aside, give in to the child within and admit that the story makes you cry when you read it. It's ok to be sensitive.

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  14. I always thought that book was somewhat creepy too. Glad I'm not the only one.

    http://tonitigress.blogspot.com

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  15. You realize that there's no wife present bc no way would that mom let her son marry. He's only taking care of her sick ass so that she'll keep buying his groceries and ironing his clothes.

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  16. I LOLed. That is the highest compliment you can get from me.

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  17. this meme is like the soup. you never realize how dumb tv shows are until joel mchale recounts it back to you. i love that book, but i guess it can be a little creepy huh especially her crawling on the floor.

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  18. This is the weirdest children's book I have ever seen.

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  19. 1. Some women can still have babies when they are in their 60s. Just sayin.
    2. Creepiest book I ever saw? "How the Hippopotamus Lost His Fur". How? HE PLAYED WITH FIRE AND IT BURNED OFF. Published by "New Africa Education".

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  20. I admit, with a twinge of pride, that I have expressed my horror toward this book at numerous baby showers. And one time? I made someone cry. Not the laughing-so-hard-you-cry, either. It was not a good scene.

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  21. "Dateline special" = hilarious.

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  22. I HATE THIS BOOK!!! But you kind of just made me love it a little.

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  23. I loved this post! Erin from Gonna Kill Him told me to read your post because she loved it AND it reminded her of my post last month. We've got a lot in common over this one! http://www.kelleysbreakroom.com/2011/01/last-night-i-read-love-you-forever-to.html

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  24. Finally! This book has haunted me for years. My mom bought it for me when I had my baby. I have been in a tailspin ever since..I have also installed alarms on all the bedroom windows!

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  25. Hah! I always liked the story until my 7yr old told me that it was creepy. He said he didn't like the way the old lady snuck around! After reading this blog entry, I am convinced it is a touch troublesome!

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  26. That book has always given me the heebie jeebies. ALWAYS.

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  27. Holy crap, I've always felt this way about Love You Forever! But I always thought it was just me... fantastic post. I was in tears, I was laughing so hard!

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  28. Speaking as a Dad, that is one creepy, creepy book. We got it from someone and both my wife and I came to the conclusion that if ever a book needed to be burned....this might be it.

    Hilarious commentary on it though!

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  29. So true! I hated this book instantly when I read it at a friend's house, years before I had a child. Creepy! Then...

    One day my daughter chose it at the library. Now what?! I couldn't have it in my house, especially because that was when she wanted to read everything over and over again! So... I let her check it out and then casually dropped it in the return slot on the way out. Excellent solution!

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  30. Speaking as a Dad, that is one creepy, creepy book. We got it from someone and both my wife and I came to the conclusion that if ever a book needed to be burned....this might be it.

    Hilarious commentary on it though!

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