At first, I couldn’t understand why people on my Facebook page were posting excerpts from Where The Wild Things Are. After the third post, I realized that Maurice Sendak must have died. And so it is — Maurice Sendak has died, aged 83. He was a prolific writer and illustrator, but he will always be known best for inventing Max and the Wild Things.
I have to admit that, true to my contrarion persona, I was never a Wild Things aficionado. Whatever else others saw in that short book, I didn’t see. I didn’t dislike it. I just didn’t view it as the greatest American children’s book since . . . well, since ever.
I do remember that one teacher at my high school used to insist that children loved the book because they subliminally picked up on the fact that Sendak had hidden in the back of his illustrations pictures of people copulating. I never did see that in the pictures, so I must have either a pure mind or be in deep denial. Or perhaps the book worked so well because it’s something of a blank slate on which people can see their own fantasies, ideas, and fears.
Maurice Sendak — you didn’t touch me, but I know you touched others, very deeply. RIP.