Monday, May 6, 2019

"The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame

I remember reading this when I was probably ten or eleven.  I remember my mom reading it aloud to us, too.  And I remember disliking it.  But I couldn't remember why I disliked it.  And people kept telling me it's cute and cheerful and funny and sweet.  So I bought a gorgeous Barnes & Noble edition to bribe myself to read it aloud to my kids.

Now I know why I didn't like it as a kid.  And it's the same reason I don't like it as an adult.

Toad.

I can't stand Toad.  He's thoroughly exasperating.  And annoying.  And irksome.  And awful.  He totally ruins this whole book for me.

Ratty?  Such a dear.  Mole?  Wonderful.  Badger?  So adorably grouchy.  If it was only about the three of them, I would reread it with joy on through the years.  But Toad?  Ugh.

And he never gets his comeuppance.  Not really.  Sure, he gets tossed in prison for stealing a car, but he escapes.  And goes home.  And gets his mansion back.  And supposedly he "changes" by the end, but I don't believe it for a minute.  The first time a motorcar comes past, it'll be nothing but "poop-poop" again and he'll be off on another round of being horrible.

Why on earth are the others still friends with him?


My 7-yr-old liked the book, though, so I'm giving my copy to her.  She liked that nothing really terrible happened to anyone, so hey, there's that.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G for gratuitous annoyance.  Also, it's very clean.



This is my 32nd book read and reviewed for my second go-round with the Classics Club and my 7th for this year's Mount TBR Challenge


13 comments:

  1. YES. I never liked the movie version that we used to watch, and I started it once, but couldn't finish it because Toad was so annoying!!! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who thinks this.

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    1. MC, the idea of a movie version makes me shudder! Bad enough having to read about him.

      I'm also glad I'm not the only one who thinks this.

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  2. I never liked this story, either, though I haven't read it since I was a young thing. No idea what I would think now, but I just remember not liking it. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland, however, is golden. :-D

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    1. DKoren, my mom reeeeeally likes this book, or thinks she does, and I'm now just wondering if she has it confused with something else? Or isn't remembering it clearly? She's always like, "Oh, yes, Wind in the Willows. That's such a good book." I mean... it's not a BAD book... but I don't enjoy it...

      I can see that it could be a fun amusement park ride, though.

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  3. Oh dear, I loved The Wind in the Willows and so did my kids. Of course Toad is annoying but that is part of his charm. You love to hate him. Plus, the book has some absolutely gorgeous lines. It is always interesting to see how people react to different books.

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    1. Jennifer, I know. You and a few others are the reason I decided to give it another chance. And I'm not sorry I re-read it! Now I can say with sanguine confidence that nope, I don't like it.

      The writing is great. We laughed quite a lot over it. But Toad fills me with skin-crawling antipathy. I'm so glad I don't know anyone like him, because I would be so miserable if I did.

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  4. Yeah, I remember Toad driving me nuts as a kid, I'm even sure we finished, so Toad loomed large in my imagination. More than he actually did in the book as I found out later. I just overall didn't care for it when I read it again, although well-written.

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    1. Livia, if I hadn't been reading this book aloud to my kids, I probably would have skipped to the end, discovered Toad's unchanging ways, and DNFed it. The writing was fun, but I was much too aggravated whenever Toad was around to make it truly worth it. However, my 7-yr-old liked Mole, and my 9-yr-old liked Rat, and so I read it for them.

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  5. I've only seen the Disney cartoon. I never liked Toad either.

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    1. Skye, there's definitely a consensus here that Toad is unlikeable! :-D Just varying responses to that, I guess. I see this book pop up on people's favorites list, so obviously, disliking it is not a universal response!

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  6. It's funny because you said exactly what I thought when you put that you did a review of the book. "I didn't like this book as a child and I can't remember why..." So relatable!

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