I think of all the memories that I would like to keep.

Eh, I’ll be honest…I didn’t really care all that much for Linsey Davis’ Stay This Way Forever. I suppose I should have known better, since the title basically gives away exactly what this book is about. But I think I was blinded by the dazzling illustrations Lucy Fleming brought the book to life with. And I think that’s fair; they are gorgeous, after all.

The Story

This is the part where I tell you, honestly, that the story sucked. There are no great message to it, in fact it’s actually kind of troubling in a small way. This book wasn’t exactly written for kids at all. Sure, it’s kind of a love letter from mom to her children. But, at the same time, it’s really not a good thing for a mom to be asking her child to stay a child forever. And, at the end of the day, this is mom throwing her emotions into the world. In essence, it means nothing good for the kid.

I get that there’s emotions involved and parents often feel a desire for kids to stay young and innocent…but it’s an unrealistic wish and it never really makes anyone feel good when someone says it to them. Stay this way forever? You mean, never grow? Never change? Never improve yourself? Come on. What message are we sending here?

The emotion may be innocent, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good message.

The Artwork

Okay, so I clearly picked this book up because I was enamored by the beautiful illustrations. Can you really blame me? They’re phenomenal. Every single page is filled with beautiful colors, diverse characters, and amazing scenes. I loved every single page, really, if we’re just talking about the art. And I think the kids, at least, will like the beautiful pictures that this book offers.

I just wish the story had been worthwhile enough to go with them.

Conclusion

Alright, I know I’m perhaps being a bit harsh. But, to be fair, I also hate I’ll Love You Forever for pretty much this same reason. That story was utterly ridiculous and disturbing, infinitely more so than this one. What sort of grown woman drives to her adult son’s home to hold and rock him in bed while he’s sleeping? How is that not creepy? This one, at least, doesn’t delve into creepy infantilizing territory. But it does insist upon this idea that a kid should stay a kid forever.

This isn’t a story for the children, it’s a story for mom. It’s a story for the mom who is too attached to her children to want them to grow up and experience life and become amazing people. And I’m sorry, but that message is terrible.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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