Sunday, September 5, 2021

Review of "The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip," by George Saunders

 Review of

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, by George Saunders ISBN 9780812989632

Five out of five stars

Retelling of the help others to help yourself story

 This is a very creative rendition of the classic story of how you help yourself when you help others. Three families live in the tiny seaside village of Frip. All three of them have goats and they earn their living by selling their milk.

 Gappers are creatures that crawl out of the sea and attach themselves to the goats. When they do, milk productions drops. The “solution” for some time has been to remove the gappers from the goats, carry them to a cliff and drop them into the sea. Since this does not harm the gappers and they have memory, they crawl out of the sea and go back to attach to the goats. Therefore, the removal of the gappers is a daily event.

 When the gappers begin concentrating on the goats of Capable’s family and leaving the others alone, she asks the others for assistance, and they ignore her pleas. In desperation, Capable sells their goats and takes up the lost art of fishing. This causes the gappers to attach to the other goats and the others are now facing the loss of income. It becomes so bad that the others reach the point that they must sell their goats and they beg Capable for help in learning how to fish. Able to forgive their previous transgressions, Capable teaches them and now they can live on the fish they catch and ignore the gappers. All three families now live better than they ever did, they don’t have to fight the gappers, so they have more food and energy for living.

 This is another iteration of the classic story of self-centeredness being a long-term disaster and how helping others is a way to help yourself. The many creative and original aspects of the story make it a fun book to read.

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