by James Thurber
First sentence: “Once upon a Sunday there was a city mouse who went to visit a country mouse.”
Content: There’s nothing overt, and no swearing. It’d probably end up in the poetry section of the bookstore.
I think I’ve vaguely heard of Thurber before this book was picked for my in-person book group. But I’d never really paid him much attention. So I didn’t really have any expectations going into this.
It’s a series of short fables followed by illustrated poems (the poems are by other people). Pretty simple, right? The fables are pretty standard: animals doing human-like things. But the twist was that they had pretty… unusual… morals.
Things like “It’s not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.”
And: “Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.”
And: “Never allow a nervous female to have access to a pistol, no matter what you’re wearing.”
And: “The male was made to lie and roam, but woman’s place is in the home.” (The title of that one was “The Stork Who Married a Dumb Wife.”)
And at that point, I decided that Thurber — no matter what time period he’s writing in (the 1930s) is horribly sexist and doesn’t deserve to be read.
That’s a bit harsh. I get that these are satire (which I have a hard time with, anyway), and that they’re supposed to be stereotypes. But STILL. I was more impatient than amused. Stop it already with the sexist crap.