The World’s Largest Flower

“What if children’s stories were obligatory reading for adults? Would we really be able to learn what we’ve been trying to teach for so long?”

That’s what José Saramago, the author of “La Flor más Grande del Mundo” wrote for the back cover of his book. That frase pretty much sums up my opinion regarding children’s books, the way in which they take on any subject, only using the absolutely necessary amount of words and the apparent SIMPLICITY of the text, is what I find the most enchanting. Well THAT and the illustrations obviously.

Artist Joao Caetano does an excellent job for this book. The warm colors,  the photographic details, the carefully childlike strokes, all combine to create an exotic and yet “universal” atmosphere.

What I love about this book is that Saramago is constantly explaining to the reader that he is not very good at writing stories, children’s stories at least. He is writing this book because he is sure that somewhere some child will read the story, and he hopes that the child will find better, “simpler” words to re tell the story. “Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll read this story again, written by YOU who reads me, but much better”

After all, what most children’s books want is for CHILDREN to read and write, which is what Jose Saramago, one of the best writers of our times is trying to do when he says he sucks ass at writing and wants YOU to do it better than him. And although it’s OBVIOUS you can’t, there’s no harm in trying. Don’t  get me wrong, SOMETIMES THERE IS HARM IN TRYING, for instance you may find that what you’ve written is SO inferior compared to Saramago’s writing that you’ll just want to kill yourself. So… yea… I forgot what the point of it all was…


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