This will be without a doubt the shortest book to be reviewed in this series. I have vague recollections of reading this story at a very young age. As it is with books and TV shows of our youth, nostalgia has convinced me that this book is a pinnacle of children’s literature. I make no claims as to whether or not that thought is accurate, but the recent release of the theatrical trailer for the movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s tale caught my eye (see the end of this post). First of all, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous, and I’m excited to see it as soon as I can (I’m not sure if I will wear my wolf suit). Since it has to have been around 20 years since I read the book, I decided to revisit it.
The book is beautiful to look at, and still fun to read, and the great part about it is that it’s even more fun to act out – you can imagine me dancing about the room with all the Wild Things. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this part of my childhood, here’s hoping the movie is just as fun. The temptation is to ascribe all these high-arching themes to a children’s book, but that ends up sounding like a high school English class essay, so I’ll just say that there are parts of this book that resonate with me at this point in my life.
As I’m sure most people reading this know, I’m currently a graduate student in the last few months of the journey toward a doctorate degree in organic chemistry. Chemistry is without a doubt what I want to do in my life, but there are days where graduate school has felt like a trek ‘over a year, in and out of weeks, through many, many days’. I’ve had unruly projects, untameable bosses, and ridiculous co-workers who have all made me want to make mischief of one kind and another. So I can empathize with Max’s troublemaker side. Unfortunately, no one has named me king of the chemistry lab yet so I have to continue to slog my way toward that Ph.D. [As a side note – there’s going to be one hell of a ‘wild rumpus’ once I finish this degree.]
But back to the book. Imagination is wonderful, and the pursuit of your dreams is something we are all entitled to, but when we tire of pursuing our wild fantasy, when our hobby/career/education has ceased consuming us (‘We’ll eat you up, we love you so’), when we return to the real world, those of us who are the luckiest have someone waiting for us with a meal that is still hot.
Postscript – My wife is starting her pursuit of a masters degree this August. A couple months before the start of the program, the school has a dinner to “thank in advance the significant others of the students for their patience throughout the completion of the program.” I love the idea, because I know it’s not easy to be the spouse of a graduate student, so, since my wife didn’t get a special dinner devoted to her, instead she gets a post on her husband’s stupid blog. Thanks, Mrs. Mak – I know it ain’t easy, but you pull it off wonderfully.