... Stuart Little!
At the behest of Big Mo, I picked up a copy of Stuart Little the other night. Mo was right: It's a creepy little book, all right. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, following is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis:
Chapter 1: A mouse is "born to a family of humans." While they admit it is a little unusual, none of these freaks seem to have a problem with this. Also, Stuart goes down a drain to fetch a ring and gets uncomfortable and slimy while doing so. For your convenience, throughout this synopsis I will keep track of how many instances of child abuse Stuart is subjected to. Child Abuse Count: 1.
Chapter 2: Stuart is forced to retrieve errant ping pong balls and to sit inside the piano helping to pound the malfunctioning keys while someone plays. He doesn't enjoy this. CAC: 2
Chapter 3: Stuart's brother George is revealed to be a jerk.
Chapter 4: Stuart is showing off his six-pack abs (I wish I were kidding) to the cat, and subsequently gets stuck inside a roll-up window shade. The cat leads everyone to believe that Stuart actually ran away down a mousehole.
Chapter 5: George is still a jerk and is also a liar. Mrs. Little is the only one who cares that Stuart is missing. He finally falls out of the window shade, broken and hungry. CAC: 3
Chapter 6: Stuart gets made captain of a toy boat that is sailing in a pond in Central Park. New York is evidently full of people who have no problem with a belligerent, talking mouse-boy.
Chapter 7: Long and boring chapter about a boat race.
Chapter 8: It is only page 48 and already Stuart is 7 years old. Just thought I'd mention that. Anyway, in this chapter, Stuart falls in love with a bird.
"Stuart closed his eyes and lay there in the dark, but he couldn't seem to go to sleep. He tossed and turned, and the bedclothes got all rumpled up. He kept thinking about the bird downstairs asleep in the fern."Perv! Also, at one point he gets locked in the refrigerator and no one cares (CAC: 4). He then shoots an arrow into the cat's eardrum (Pet Abuse Count: 1).
Chapter 9: Stuart falls into a garbage truck. The bird saves him.
Chapter 10: The bird leaves the Littles' house. Smart bird.
Chapter 11: Everyone searches for the bird. Stuart freaks out and runs away toward Connecticut to look for her. He takes a strand of his mother's hair along with him as a souvenir. He wreck's a dentist's invisible toy car. That's right. Invisible toy car. The dentist yells at him and Stuart cries (CAC: 5).
Chapter 12: During the course of his travels, Stuart somehow becomes a substitute teacher for a day. In class, there's a girl who is carrying around a little scented sachet pillow or something. Stuart forces a boy to grab the beloved pillow from her, and then makes the whole class gang up on him for "stealing." I think Stuart's a jerk!
Chapter 13: Stuart arrives at a town called Ames' Crossing and learns there is a little (2 inches tall) girl there called Harriet. He gets all hot and bothered:
"A girl about two inches high had entered and was crossing the floor toward the mail boxes. She wore sports clothes and walked with her head held high.... Stuart began to tremble with excitement."Ew? Stuart invites Harriet to go boating on the river.
Chapter 14: Stuart prepares for their boat ride.
"After supper, he propped himself up against a fern, bit off some spruce gum for a chew, and lay there on the bank dreaming and chewing gum. In his imagination he went over every detail of tomorrow's trip with Harriet. With his eyes shut he seemed to see the whole occasion plainly - how she would look when she came down the path to the water, how calm and peaceful the river was going to be in the twilight, how graceful the canoe would seem... Stuart planned to wear his swimming trunks under his clothes so that he could dive off the lily pad into the cool stream. He would swim the crawl stroke, up and down and all around the lily pad, while Harriet watched, admiring his ability as a swimmer. Stuart chewed the spruce gum very rapidly as he thought about this part of the episode."
Seriously, is this a kids' book?
Harriet shows up and is very polite and easy-going, even though it turns out Stuart's cheap-ass canoe is busted. He, on the other hand, seeing the boat has been damaged, throws a tantrum. Harriet, no dummy, takes off when she sees what a whiny basket case the mouse-boy turned out to be.
Chapter 15: Stuart keeps driving north, searching for the bird. We never find out if he finds her or not.
So, maybe I was prejudiced by Big Mo's assessment when reading the book, but I do think it is kind of weird. I did not see the film, but I assume the mouse in the movie wasn't all inappropriately pervy and high-strung.
Ta da! Book 30!