Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes

The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes
The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes by Bill Watterson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just happened to pick this book up while visiting a friend, and, the next thing I knew, it was hours later. I read these when they were originally syndicated in my hometown newspaper, and I read Scientific Progress Goes "Boink" and The Revenge of the Baby-Sat. I could read these a million times and still want to read them again.

These are definitely written to be appreciated on several levels, which is what makes them so rereadable. I had one perspective on them when I was young, and another now that I'm all grown up, myself. Calvin's antics aren't laugh-out-loud funny anymore, but bittersweet now that I can imagine raising such a holy terror. And the section about the break-in at their home, instead of inspiring boredom, seems very apt, and I can sympathize with the parents. I finally see the humor in Calvin's declaration that this is the coolest thing to happen to him.

Most interesting is that I never understood how a bright kid like Calvin could do so poorly in school. It makes sense now, and I even understand why I didn't see it, before. Calvin's school isn't about nurturing creativity or teaching children to use their gifts. It's about teaching kids to sit down, shut up, and do their homework. Calvin is at his worst when he's told to obey for reasons that make no sense to him, and so of course he's going to the principal's office daily.

Watterson also manages to paint a decent view of the female perspective, despite Calvin's view of girls as gross and slimy, and his mother as a dispenser of disgusting food, clean laundry, and torturous baths. I got the feeling that he really gets it.

I need to remember to brighten my view with one of these books from time to time. We all need a little more imagination in our lives.

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