I ordered today’s book from our local independent bookseller based purely on its funky cover. I knew nothing about it, just that I thought it looked supercool. What a score it is, too, it is the most tender story about about two lonely and gentle souls that finally come together and get each other.
And isn’t that the most wonderful feeling? I remember the first moment when I realized that my husband really got me.
He’s someone who is the very definition of confidence. I am not. He’s easy and self-assured. I am not. When we met in the pub where we worked together 14 years ago, it was not love at first sight. I resented him, I think he kind of enjoyed it. We worked side by side for many months before closing down one night and sitting at the bar with a couple of beers and talking and everything I felt I knew about myself was flipped on its end. I’d always felt awkward, self-conscious, skeptical, and sitting with him late into the night talking about ideas and fears and dreams just felt so easy. I didn’t have to convince myself (or him) of anything- I wasn’t hyper aware of my own insecurities for once. He knew me. And because of that, the world felt less aggressive, more welcoming. Less lonely.
Herman and Rosie, by Gus Gordon is my new favorite book to read to the kids.
Herman Shubert and Rosie Bloom live in New York- a beautifully created New York of pencil, watercolor, and print collage- but have never met. They’re surrounded by the bustling city, yet are quite alone.
Herman sells “things” on the phone from his office in a tall building. He enjoys his job because he gets to talk to people whether or not they want to buy these “things.”
Rosie washes dishes in an uptown restaurant, but on Thursdays she sings in a jazz club.
Rosie lived on the fifth floor in the building next door. She liked pancakes, listening to old jazz records, the summertime subway breeze, toffees that stuck to her teeth, singing on the fire escape…and watching films about the ocean.
It made him feel like he had eaten honey straight from the jar.
But still they don’t meet. When he loses his job, thereby losing his connection to other people, the busy rhythm of the city begins to feel a lot more hostile to Herman. When Rosie’s club shuts down, the city feels “louder and darker than usual.”
Herman and Rosie do sort of a parallel dance alone in their apartments or walking around the city until they inevitably end up face to face, and the built up tension of the motion of the city combined with their personal anxiety, eases. They find each other. They get each other.
It’s a beautiful way to end the book, where each character finds peace in the other, the city feels a little less lonely, a little more embracing.
I love a children’s book that delves into anxiety, fear, or disillusionment. I believe children feel the big feelings, the disappointments, the apprehension, it’s important to give those feelings a representation.
What are your thoughts on picture books that capture the heavy things in life?