The Hole

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My daughter loves to read. She has gone through all the books we have at home several times over. Like most kids, she loves to read her favorite books over and over again. She also demands that we read them to her over and over again. Unlike her, we get tired of reading the same stories. So I decided to find her new good books to read. After reading rave reviews I bought “The Hole” for my daughter online. It was praised as a funny, meditative and philosophical book for kids. Once it arrived, it looked interesting. There was a real hole in the center of its recycled cardboard like hard cover. I eagerly opened it and began reading. Well to call it reading is a stretch. It is a picture book and has very few words in it. The graphics are very simple pencil drawing in black and white. It is a very plain looking book about a “Hole”: A guy moves into an apartment and discovers a hole in it and the hole. He (unsuccessfully) tries to figure it out and get rid of it. I hated it! I felt ripped off having spent over $ 17 for what appeared to be a pretentious fluff. I put it back in its box determined to return it.

Later that day, my daughter arrived from school and asked if her book had arrived. I had told her about some books I ordered and she never forgets such promises. I told her it is not a good book. Nonetheless, she wanted to see it. So the box was reopened and to my surprise she loved the book. Since that day we have read this book every night. My daughter taught me how to read it. She showed me things I hadn’t noticed in there. In between those seemingly simple drawing, she saw and understood so much. She found some parts funny and some parts scary but over all she loves the book. I must confess that I do too now! It is funny. It is philosophical. It is meditative. It has layers of depth. It is thoughtful. What an amazing book about a hole! A hole in someone’s life that is initially puzzling and scary. He tries to understand it, to get rid of it, and he does, sort of. The hole comes back, perhaps it never left. He either doesn’t see it anymore, or accepts its existence.

I wonder why I like it now. Do I like it because my daughter likes it? Did she teach me how to like it? Did she teach me how to see it?  Other than the story of the Hole, I learned that my perception and impression of the world, and the things I like or dislike are highly unreliable and ever changing and that is not such a bad thing.

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