Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm a wild thing

Though I should have been the perfect age for Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are to be a meaningful book for me (I was 7 when it was first published in 1963), I didn't read it until I was out of college and working in retail bookselling in the early 80's. I like Sendak's books, though my favorite is In the Night Kitchen, a dream story which reminds me of the old Little Nemo comic strips, and I would definitely have loved that book when I was 7.

My partner Don loves Sendak, and particularly Where the Wild Things Are; one of our favorite touristy side trips occurred in New York City a few years ago when we saw a major Sendak exhibition at the Jewish Museum. However, Don is boycotting the Wild Things movie, afraid that Spike Jonze will have made a mess out of a beloved book. I don't blame him; the current track record of turning short, thinly plotted children's classics into full-length movies is dismal--the recent Suess movies were roundly panned, and The Polar Express is one of the worst Christmas movies I've ever seen--and I sat through the first 20 minutes of the atrocious TV remake of Christmas in Connecticut, directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, I am interested in seeing Wild Things because the reviews have been mostly positive, and even the negative ones make it sound interesting. I may wait for the DVD.

But the other day, I wore my Wild Things t-shirt to work (see above). It was a gift from Don from early in our relationship, or at least I remember it that way: he'd gone off to a conference (I'm gonna say the American Folklore Society, and I'm gonna say it was down south somewhere), and it was one of the first times he was gone for more than a couple of days since we'd moved in together. He came back with this gift, a heavy green t-shirt with Max (the main character of the book) embroidered on it. It was definitely a bootleg item since, at the time, Sendak didn't sanction the selling of any products with his artwork on them. I'm no longer 100% certain of all the above circumstances, but since I remember it that way, it is so. It was an extra-special gift, and one which still fits me to this day.

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