And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street is the first person narrative of Marco, a young boy who on most occasions, tends to exaggerate the sights he witnesses during his daily transit from school to abode. Luke believes Marco to be something of a cross between Tom Sawyer and an adolescent Walter Mitty. Marco’s father chides him to: Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.
On the day of the story, Marco resumes his daily trek apparently oblivious to his father’s good advice. He encounters nothing more exciting than an ordinary horse and wagon, but schemes to fabricate a much more grandiose memoir. He promotes the horse first to a zebra, then a reindeer, then an elephant, and finally an elephant plus two giraffes. Similarly, the wagon is transformed to a chariot, a sled, and eventually a cart conveying a brass band.
The embellishment of course continues with even greater and more extraordinary players.
The embellishment, Luke wishes to correct, is simply a fib, and he hastens to add, fibbing is wrong.
Luke confesses an intensifying sense of dread as the fib continued to grow with alarming proportion. He feared the duplicitous nature of the intended narration would throw Marco’s familial harmony into grave jeopardy.
SPOILER ALERT: The following contains a spoiler
Luke’s apprehension was much relieved when Marco got home and found himself unable to bring the deception to bear, and recounted only seeing a simple horse and wagon.
Although Luke was relieved that Marco restored his virtue and credibility, he felt there were several holes in the plot. First, Luke feels it would be pretty cool to see a horse and wagon, and would indeed feel fortunate to regale his father with such a fortuitous sighting. Secondly, and more importantly, Luke felt there was inadequate catalyst for Marco’s change of heart. He felt the moral dilemma that is certainly implied, could have been more fully developed, and as such would have served as an enduring testimonial to this important work, and given valuable warning to future generations of would be fibbers.
Luke opines that Mulberry Street is ostensibly a modernist or perhaps post-modernist rendition, he doesn’t really see the difference, of what we might perceive as a semi-autobiographical account of Theodor Geisel’s childhood, and how he turned his propensity of telling wild tales to good use. The charm of that theory notwithstanding, Luke feels the narrative is rather a motif with clear existentialist underpinnings. Marco is clearly seeking to affirm his own relevance with fantastic stories, but before the reader’s very eyes, Marco comes of age, realizing that relevance can only be recommended by a life of honesty and integrity. Luke says…Bravo Marco!
Luke gives it 4 stars
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