I did not read Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild things are when I was a child. I first got news of it when I was, believe it or not, fifteen years old. Somehow my parents must have missed this one. So given the fact that I read this book at fifteen, you may be tempted to think that I was not surprised by it, that maybe I got bored. However, it was not so. This is my story.
Even at that age, you still feel like a wild thing. You want to be your own master, make your own way, be mischievous or nice, and not care about the consequences, just like Max, the protagonist of Maurice’s book. So this misbehaved Max gets sent to his room without supper and suddenly he begins a voyage to the land of where the wild things are.
I also wanted to go to this place where I could roar and gnash terribly. But Where the Wild things are is not about telling children to roam wild and free. It’s about how Max, even with wild things inside and out of him, tames these unpredictable creatures. He is the one in control.
Now this was a great lesson for my fifteen year old self. By the end of the story, Max starts to feel lonely. I did not get it at first. Why would Max want to go back to a place where they sent you to your room without supper?
Here is the lesson: Max learns that the wild things do not really love you. They only want to “eat you up” and not share you with anybody. By the end of the story, Max returns to his room and finds his supper which was still hot.
And I fell in love with this book.