Can you like a person, or maybe her/his personality, but dislike the works?
That’s what I feel about THE BENCH, Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex’s first children’s book.
In fact, I don’t think it is a children book. It’s more of an illustrated book, in my opinion. I can’t read it to my son. The story sounds like Meghan’s expectation of her husband or to any father in the world. Fathers should be like this and that, will be like this and that.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love her writings in NYT, The Losses We Share. I also disagree with the 1-star review given at Goodreads, which mostly talking about Meghan as an individual.
Maybe my expectation to Meghan is too high for a children book written by a feminist. I’m expecting children’s point of view as it is classified as a children book. Not a mother perspective with such a high expectation to the father. And the bench.
Speaking of the bench, if you go to the UK, you’ll see how unique every single bench in the country. Every bench has a name and a story. Usually it has a plate with a name and a short memory about them at the top-centre of the bench.
If only Meghan take this kind of bench as a setup, it might make The Bench feels more personal and unique like every bench in the UK. But I am failing to see the emotional touch children books usually have.
However, I like the way Meghan and Christian Robinson emphasize diversity in this book. I’m also spoiled by Christian Robinson illustration. The illustrations show different non-white colours. Press usually take the white father with blond hair and army look, which might illustrate Meghan’s husband. But it is just one page of other beautiful pages and not the best page. Although I know very little about art, I like the soft strokes and the earth tonality in this book.
To close this rant, allow me to share a picture of a bench with no expectations.