This book is one of the saddest books in the known universe. You have to really get down to the yin and yang of it though. Is the boy a dick? Yeah, pretty much. In the end it doesn’t really have any affect as they end up in the same place. THEY ARE BOTH CONTINUALLY DYING NO MATTER WHAT. So, the yin/yang is this: giver/taker, satisfaction/hunger, inhaling/exhaling. The big problem with this book for me is that as a father, it chokes me up and puts me in a state of vertiginous tunnel vision where I feel like I’m going to immediately disintegrate. It’s powerful ethos shit. Reading it as an adult filled me with hives, I must admit. As a kid, this was a staple in our house. Reading it to my kid I am left feeling like the lesson is be satisfied with what you have. If that is the lesson that leads to my kid not being a dick later, then I have done my job. But, the hunger is strong in this society. A little at a time, we accumulate a lot of crappy crap.