Thursday, May 08, 2008


The Book: James Finn Garner, POLITICALLY CORRECT BEDTIME STORIES: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times. Macmillan, 1994. Fine condition.
First read: 1994
Owned since: 1994

Greetings from Washington, DC, where I'm staying in the house I used to share with my friend Megan (who still lives here). Megan too is a big reader, but our collections don't overlap much. This is one of the few books we both own, and I would guess we both still have it for the same reason: it's very small.

It's a one-joke book, and a dated one at that -- "Rapunzel," for example, begins "There once lived an economically disadvantaged tinker and his wife. His lack of material accomplishment is not meant to imply that all tinkers are economically marginalized, or that if they are, they deserve to be so." It is clever, and some of it is still very funny, but political correctness as a subject for humor is -- gosh -- about 15 years old.

The funniest story in the book is "The Three Codependent Goats Gruff," in which the biggest goat begs the troll to eat him because they tempted him, while the troll sobs and asks forgiveness: "No, no, it's all my fault. I threatened and bullied you all, just for the sake of my own survival. How selfish I was!" The battle of who is guiltiest ends badly, but with some measure of satisfaction for all involved, as they feel they are finally getting what they deserve.

It shouldn't surprise me -- but does -- to find that it is already early summer here in Washington, and everything is green. Dizzy, who came with me, is thrilled but a little overstimulated.

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