Recently I had the displeasure of reading the novel “Goodnight Moon.” It had no emotional core and the underlying messages of capitalist desires left a thoroughly unaffecting taste in my suddenly dry mouth.
Now, I realize people really love this book. Not only do they love it, they go to fan conventions about it, make Halloween costumes, engage in memorization competitions and even write dissertations about it (“The Moon inside of all of us”).
With this overwhelming amount of critical love, I approached “Goodnight Moon” expecting a piece of well-thought out and amazing literature. Something akin to Dave Eggers or James Joyce. What I got was a complete mess of a work. It seems more suited for the consumption of children than any enlightened readers.
|Even the titular moon looks depressed to |
be involved with a story such as this.
Who is this “moon” character to which the unnamed narrator refers. Is it the celestial body, or is it an allusion to the male behind? Do we get a personification of said moon, or will it remain an outside force? These are all good questions, but the author chose to ignore them. Although the moon remains the titular character, it's only mentioned in passing and mainly in relation to a cow's ability to jump over it.
The story is roughly three pages long. If you take out the rhyme scheme, it becomes even shorter. They could have expanded out and we could have known who the bunny is, who the cat is, and why this quiet old lady whispers “hush.”
Speaking of the kittens, why do the bunny rabbits have them as pets? Don't they realize a cat is one of their natural predators? Sure, the author hints at this when proclaiming them kittens, but when they do mature, little bunny is going to become an all-you-can-eat buffet. Maybe they're planning that for the sequel, which would teach the audience a strong lesson about the importance of food chain survival. I could foresee calling it “Goodnight Eviscerated Bunny Rabbit.”--that's a story I'd pay to read.
The world-renowned “Goodnight nobody” sequence showcases could have been a profoundly interesting sequence. The rabbit says “Goodnight nobody” on top of a completely blank page. Initially it seems like the author is making a statement on the futility of polar bears eating marshmallows (during a blizzard), but closer inspection reveals she probably needed to produce a 30-page book and had no desire to actually create content. Leaving the page blank could appear artistic, but it's definitely just playing right into the hands of capitalistic society.
So it seems suiting that I read this while waiting in line at Target to purchase some white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The capitalism of the book motivated my desires to purchase peanut butter encased in fake chocolate. Thankfully the story was mercifully short and could be completed in “Reese's Time,” otherwise I might have parted ways with a dollar and would have been upset to receive such a droll piece of tripe.
This entry in the “Baby's First Books” series truly disappointed me. It seems the author, Margaret Wise Brown, could have set her sights higher. She could have made it a parable on Israeli-Palestinian conflict or encoded the cure for AIDS into her text. Instead, she has left a book for the ages where people will ponder why so many people read it.
If “Goodnight Moon” is indicative of Brown's work, I do not foresee a bright future in the literary world for Ms. Brown.