Saturday, May 31, 2008

23. Re-read the Tao of Pooh and finish the Te of Piglet.

I read The Tao of Pooh for the first time in 10th grade. There was an amazing English teacher at school that year (I didn't have him, he was just so wonderful, that he reached out to everyone in the school). My best friend and I would stay after school just to talk about books, literature and life in general. We formed a mini book club, and I read some really amazing books that year.

One of them was The Tao of Pooh. It opened my mind so much. It was my first real influence to Taoism. At that point, I had rejected Catholocism, and my interest in Wicca was beginning to fade. I was still searching for something that made sense to me, and Taoism seemed to. I tried reading the Tao Te Ching, but that's a bit of hefty reading for a 15 year old. The Tao of Pooh was perfect for me. It used Winnie the Pooh and his friends to teach the principles of an ancient way of thinking. I still think that Benjamin Hoff was a wee bit of brilliant for thinking that up.

The Tao of Pooh encouraged people to live simplicitically, saying that Pooh (in his simplistic existence) had found the secret to a happy and peaceful life. The Te of Piglet takes everything one step farther and encourages readers to embrace their inner self, but somehow Hoff manages to make it seem like your inner self is only valid if you are meek and humble. Now, while I like to think of myself as humble, I'm definitely not meek. Obviously, the main character of The Te of Piglet is Piglet, the other 100 acre woods characters made cameos, but they were mostly only used as if to contrast with Piglet's purity and worth. Pooh was portrayed as arrogant and selfish, Rabbit as conceited, Owl as a know-it-all and Eeyore as hopelessly pessimistic. While all of this may be true, they aren't necessarily bad things. These traits are all perfectly acceptable as long as they are balanced by other, more positive, traits.

And there was also this entire section where Hoff compared Eeyores to feminists, who apparently are out to take down the current society and destroy the educational system. Granted, I'm not the most active feminist in the world, but I'm pretty sure I would have noticed people running around pulling down the country's schools.

Overall, I enjoyed re-reading The Tao of Pooh. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first read, but it was still pleasurable. I found very little worthwhile in The Te of Piglet, and I actually wouldn't even recommend it to anyone. It just seemed like Hoff was rambling throughout the entire book, and I guess, when you're trying to write a sequel to a best-seller that you never even intended to write, you might have some difficulty putting in decent topics.


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