Friday, June 19, 2009

Entry: The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover

(Before I start the post, it's only fair to warn you that it contains spoilers for The Monster at the End of This Book. I give away the ending. If this is a problem, visit the children's section of your local library before continuing.)

One thing I hear a lot is, "OMG, Regina, you're so pretentious." All the freaking time! Even more often than "Ma'am, you're making a scene."

And, okay, it is kind of true. Every cultural object I love is meta-this and post-that. And I thought it all started in college, or maybe late high school, when I saw Being John Malkovich and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of highly theoretical intellectual masturbation. And if it features John Cusack in some way, so much the better.

The Wik', however, has proven me wrong. My love of post-modernism apparently extends back to early childhood.

When I was a wee child, and the family computer was only useful for playing Reader Rabbit, one of my favorite books was The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover. We probably owned a copy of it, but my memory situates me in my pediatrician's waiting room, reading it with my mom. I liked Grover, probably because he was the only creature in existence more neurotic than I. (Well, okay, Telly could have probably benefited from the occasional benzodiazepine tablet too.)

Anyway: the Wikipedia article describes The Monster at the End of this Book as a "post-modern children's book" that is self-reflexive; Grover is conscious of the fact that he is a character in a book (he tries to stop the reader from turning the page by tying the pages together). I guess you could also argue that since it ends with the reader and Grover confronting the monster at the end of the book-- which turns out to be Grover himself-- thus forcing Grover to accept his identity as a monster, it is a sort of bildungsroman as well. Although, he doesn't really age during the course of the book. An $80,000 liberal arts education put to use, ladies and gentlemen.

I was so excited to have one of my favorite books growing up put in this light. Next time I'm at a party drinking PBR from a keg and feeling insecure because I'm not dressed like I got attacked by a Goodwill, I'll be sure to smugly mention the fact that I've been into metafiction since I could read.

That, and I was totally into Rilo Kiley way before they got all mainstream.


My Turn said...

it's so interesting that there literally is a wiki for everything.

Pooka said...

This is probably my favorite one that you've done yet, if for no other reason than a pill-popping Telly is the funniest thing to cross my mind since at least, like, 8:30 am. A lot of the Sesame Street stuff was really heavy stuff anyway, like the oft-cited one where Big Bird saves the Egyptian mummy kid in the Met from having his soul devoured by the Judges of Ma'at. Youth television! Hooray!

And I saw Rilo Kiley in Mike's basement back in '95.