A much-needed intervention

September 17th, 2010

Have you seen Second City’s “Sassy Gay Friend” series, in which a sassy gay friend talks some sense into famously self-destructive female characters from literature? They’re hilarious — I mean, yada yada yada gay stereotypes and all that, but it’s very funny, very pointed, and most of my gay friends laugh hysterically at them and then go back to working for important things like marriage equality.

In this episode, Sassy Gay Friend takes on one of the most horrifying tales of all time: Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”:

Seriously, how awesome is that? And how much do I hate “The Giving Tree”? The Tree gives, and gives, eventually allowing herself to be mutilated into a stump, by a boy/man who abandons her and returns only when he has exhausted her resources and his own. It’s like a kids’ primer on domestic violence; it should have been titled “He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss, Charlie Brown!”

5 Responses to “A much-needed intervention”

  1. NotoriousDiG on September 17, 2010 4:35 pm

    Did you see the fabulous NYT “Motherlode” column about this recently?


    I tend to think it’s more of a parent/child relationship between the tree and the boy, but I know I’m in the minority on this one….

  2. Shulamuth on September 17, 2010 4:41 pm


    I always assumed Giving Tree was intended as satire, because, after all, it’s written by Uncle Shelby, but I gave up arguing with people who think it’s “sweet”.

  3. car on September 17, 2010 6:34 pm

    I’ve always hated that book, and don’t understand people who love it.

  4. Alice on September 17, 2010 7:15 pm

    I hate it, too. My kids love it, for some reason, and are always trying to get me to read it to them. In my mind, I’ve retitled it “The Selfish Little Boy and the Tree with Self-Esteem Issues,” but that’s a bit long.

  5. Shulamuth on September 17, 2010 7:22 pm

    I think kids love it because they see it as true to life and they don’t usually see that in “kids’” books. Why grown-ups love it (and read it without irony) is beyond me.

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