"Once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
March 4, 2015 6:29 AM   Subscribe

The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep (24 min. 39 secs.); a shorter, more official source of the video is at Meryl Streep Info blog, with promotional material. Online edition of the 1922 book by Margery Williams, complete with original illustrations by William Nicholson, at the Digital Library at UPenn.

Her melancholy style and approach to writing is detailed at Wikipedia:
"When Margery was seven years old, her father died suddenly, a life-changing event which, in one way or another, would affect all of her future creative activity. The undertone of sadness and the themes of death and loss that flow through her children's books have been criticised by some reviewers, but Williams always maintained that hearts acquire greater humanity through pain and adversity. She wrote that life is a process of constant change—there are departures for some and arrivals for others—and the process allows us to grow and persevere."
A short bio of illustrator William Nicholson here.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (8 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, suddenly I am five again. Thank you so much for posting this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:45 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

why are you making me sob so early in the day
posted by barchan at 7:20 AM on March 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

A neighbor's child actually left a velveteen rabbit on the steps to my deck, and then their family moved away. I found it, all rotted from the rain, months later.
posted by thelonius at 7:23 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Thank you for posting this.

The Velveteen Rabbit was the first story that broke me as a child—broke my heart, haunted me, made me hurt with how much I loved it. It didn't help that I had, still have, a stuffed rabbit as my most beloved childhood toy, so I could project myself into the story and take it much too personally.

Years later the story still haunts me, and its influence lingers through many of the stories I'm still drawn to: Cupid & Psyche, the Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, just as some of the more iconic examples. That bittersweet exploration of the powers and limitations of unconditional love, on both sides.
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
Filk singer Kathy Mar has a song "Velveteen" that is guaranteed to make me clutch my now-shabby rabbit and cry. Lyrics.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:20 AM on March 4, 2015

One of my sons has a threadbare stuffed duck, and I say good-bye -- and get a high five -- any morning that I hapen to see him on my way out. Wait, "see it." Wait again, definitely "see him."

Love you, Puddles!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:18 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. ...

*hideous sobbing*

Last year my cousin's godfather did a reading at her wedding.

He started in on this passage and I distinctly recall muttering "YOU. BASTARD." under my breath because I knew that he knew that it would make EVERYONE CRY.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:37 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thanks, louche mustachio. Hadn't thought of it, but now I know what I'm going to say at my sister's wedding in a few months!

+1 awesome post would cry again
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:19 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Welp ... At least I'm glad it's not just me ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:50 PM on March 5, 2015

« Older Nobody's admitting that they're evicting the...   |   The Uncanny X-Men Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments