An Early Birthday Present

It's been really hard with Tyler gone, even if it has only been a day. I can't wait until he comes home late tonight! I've found myself crying uncontrollably at the most inconvenient times--for example, last night I went to a relief society couponing club (which was fabulous, I might add) and they asked the typical, "how are you today?" question, and I about burst into tears. Only a few teardrops shed later, the club distracted me enough for an hour and a half. But when I got home, I broke down again and sobbed uncontrollably.

I think Tyler must have expected this. I really am an emotional person, and will break down crying when I burn dinner just a little bit. But last night was bad. Even when I thought about him, the tears started coming. Anyway, long story short. My birthday is tomorrow, and Tyler is a very good secrets-keeper. Last night while on the phone with him, he asked me what I was doing to keep me occupied. He knows I love to read, but I explained the book I was reading to him wasn't helping me feel better (it's called The Lovely Bones and is actually quite good so far, except for the fact that it's about a girl that was raped and murdered and is watching her family down on earth from heaven try to cope with her death). He then walked me through the bedroom (over the phone of course) and told me he's been keeping a book for my birthday (which is tomorrow) and he wanted me to have it early. It's perfect.

It's called The Tales of Beedle the Bard, written by J.K. Rowling. It's fantastic! It's already impressed me and so far I've only read the introduction. Here is Amazon.com's summary:

"Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers--as well as Aesop's wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm--each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling's new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle's collection "take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe," and "that magic causes as much trouble as it cures."

But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard's-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered "among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives," the venerable wizard's ruminations on the Tales allow today's readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that "Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles" during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters.

Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led "a certain Beatrix Bloxam" to cleanse the Tales of "much of the darker themes that she found distasteful," forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through "Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" that "many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead."

Thank you, Tyler!

1 comment:

The Boring Family said...

Glad you have a good book to keep you company for a couple of days. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. Call me if you need someone to talk to.