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Mr. Messy (Mr. Men Classic Library) Paperback – 2 Jun 2008
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About the Author
Roger Hargreaves is best remembered as the creator, author and illustrator of the Mr. Men and Little Miss. These hilarious tales with their bright, bold illustrations have been part of popular culture since the launch of the very first book, Mr. Tickle, in 1971. To date over 85 million copies have been sold worldwide and they have been translated into 20 languages.
Top customer reviews
We meet Mr Messy - a man whose entire day-to-day existence is the undiluted expression of his individuality. His very untidiness is a metaphor for his blissful and unselfconscious disregard for the Social Order. Yes, there are times when he himself is a victim of this individuality - as when he trips over a brush he has left on his garden path - but he goes through life with a smile on his face.
That is, until a chance meeting with Mr Neat and Mr Tidy - the archetypal men in suits. They set about a merciless programme of social engineering and indoctrination that we are left in no doubt is in flagrant violation of his free will. 'But I like being messy' he protests as they anonymize both his home and his person with their relentless cleaning activity, a symbolism thinly veiled.
This process is so thorough that by the end of it he is unrecognizable - a homogenized pink blob, no longer truly himself (that vibrant Pollock-like scribble of before). He smiles the smile of a brainwashed automaton, blandly accepting what he has been given no agency to question or refuse. It is in this very smile that the sheer horror of what we have seen to occur is at its most acute.
Somewhere behind this blank expression though is a latent anger - a trace of self-knowledge as to what he once was - in the barbed observation he makes to Neat and Tidy that they have even deprived him of his name.
The book ends with a dry reminder from Hargreaves that just as with the secret police in some totalitarian regime, our own small expressions of uniqueness and volition may also result in a visit from these sinister suited agents.
On this particular day, Mr. Messy meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy and his life is never the same again. Please note that it is not Mr. Messy who is made to clean and tidy up so some kids might get the wrong impression that they do not have to be responsible in this area BUT I think most won't. After Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy are finished, guess where they put Mr. Messy? Somewhere to get clean! He doesn't even look the same once they are finished with him.
A humourous book to demonstrate not only how bad things can get when being untidy is left unchecked but also what a difference cleaning up can make. Happy reading! Thanks, Liz
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