Book Review: The Giving Tree

The Giving TreeThe Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a simple yet poignant story about unconditional love and unquenchable desire. Is it about the love of a tree for a boy? Is it about the unconditional love of nature for all of mankind? Or is it about the unconditional love of a parent for a child? As a parent, sometimes I am tempted to show my children the shortcuts so they don’t suffer… But life is not that simple. The giving tree gives her love and accepts the boy and his journey. She is patient. She accepts the boy’s desires without judgment and gives what she can without attachment. When I find my anger rising in defense of the tree. I ask myself, what is that about in me?

If you want to read a story that tugs at your heart strings, this will do just that. At first, when I asked my children what they thought of the book, Jing Wen, 10, said it was a sad story. Then after sleeping on it, he said he liked it because he could see the tree loved the boy very much… and giving to someone she loved made the tree happy… and maybe for her, that was enough.

I don’t believe the intention is to encourage this kind of relationship or discourage it but rather allow the reader to reflect on their own relationships and perhaps see it from a new and perhaps even extreme perspective so we may find our own balance between loving another and loving oneself.

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