When I was quite little, I remember a record player I had. Those old children’s 45s were my prized possessions, especially The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I think people remarked on what kind of boy I must be when I got so emotionally involved in the part where Peter is nearly caught by Farmer MacGregor. Everybody but my mother. She always seemed to understand even when she remembered those days as I became an adult.
And now I’m getting reacquainted with The Velveteen Rabbit, a Beatrix Potter story of a stuffed rabbit that the rest of the world thinks is merely a toy but becomes Real because of another’s love. Go ahead. Read it again in the dark of night if you don’t want other adults to know you’re reading nursery stories. But this time when you hear the Velveteen Rabbit speak, try imagining a girl who knows she’s a girl inside and so desperately wants to become Real, only the “real” girls (and everybody else in the world) all know so much better that she’s not and can never be a real girl at all.
You read it that way and you tell me with a straight face it’s not emotional. You read it and understand it and you won’t know everything, but you will know a lot more about me.