I was particularly excited about this week’s selections, as there were two poems!
The picture to the left is the cover of the Polish edition of the book. I think it’s pretty cool, and it’s my favorite of the cover art that I’ve seen thus far for “Fragile Things.”
As per usual, there aren’t any set discussion questions, so I’ll just talk about each story and wrap up with any concluding thoughts that I may have. Please be sure to visit the other bloggers’ pages who are also participating in the groupread.
From this point forward, there may be spoilers. Enjoy!
I like this one! It’s about a father telling his daughter the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, while reminiscing about the nature of innocence and the way that some things go over her head. He remembers his own childhood and his own mistakes in life, and realizes that his daughter will have to make her own mistakes and have her own experiences. My favorite line in the poem was this:
The bears go upstairs hesitantly,
their house now feels desecrated. They realize
what locks are for.
I must admit, I do know the feeling. In college, we weren’t as meticulous as we could have been about locking our door, and at the end of my senior year our room was burglarized as I was taking a nap in the other room. Based upon my own reactions at the time (“But I was at home! Why would I need to lock the door if I’m here!?”), I can just imagine Papa Bear thinking to himself, “But it’s the middle of the frickin’ woods! There just aren’t PEOPLE here! How in God’s name did this happen!?!”
The Problem of Susan
This one was also excellent. I also used to wonder about Susan, and why Lewis just cut her out of the stories like that for showing some signs of growing up (and one can read into it that C.S. Lewis was trying to say that Susan couldn’t come to Narnia because she started thinking about sex). I liked Gaiman’s version of Susan better. She grew up, and she remembered. I like thinking of her as a professor. It just feels right. However, I’m not going to be able to think of Aslan and the White Witch in the same way ever again…
I didn’t care for this one quite as much as the first two this week. It’s a poem that gives common sense instructions for characters who find themselves in a fantasy world. I think many fantasy characters could benefit from it. You know that feeling, when you’re reading a fantasy book, and the hero is about to do something incredibly stupid that breaks the generally established rules that every five-year-old knows? Yup. I also liked the way that this poem tied itself to “October in the Chair.”
How Do You Think It Feels?
The narrator’s a bit of a jerk, isn’t he? I couldn’t sympathize with him, largely because he didn’t think of the effects of his actions on anyone but himself. I felt bad for his kids.
I loved the first two selections this week, although the second two were a bit off. The first two stories dealt primarily with plot holes, or obvious criticism of established stories. That line in “Locks” about locking the door made me laugh, as did the way Gaiman reflected on the connotations of “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed!” However, I think “The Problem With Susan” was probably my favorite, because I did wonder even the first time I read the Narnia books what Susan did to get herself excluded from Narnia forever. To me, it seemed as if Lewis was letting his religious views ruin his story and being overly preachy in the way that he dealt with her character. Religious allegory isn’t a bad thing in a story, but there is a point where it becomes too much, and engulfs the story that you’ve created. I liked the way that Gaiman returned to Susan, showing that she wasn’t a terrible person, she just grew up. Overall, I enjoyed this week’s selections a lot, and am excited to read more!