The story of the real Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh as told by the boy himself.
The son of A.A Milne, and the inspiration for his most famous books, Christopher had a love/hate relationship with his fictional counterpart. In this collection of essays, he discusses his parents, his often lonely childhood, and the difficulty of being a celebrity.
My mother didn’t like Winnie the Pooh, so we didn’t have the books when I was a child and I was never interested in reading them as an adult. However, I know the characters from the Disney cartoons, and after watching the biopic Goodbye Christopher Robin, I decided to read the source material.
I liked Milne’s warm, conversational writing style. He painted a picture of a difficult childhood, largely ignored by both his parents who had strong personalities that didn’t understand each other. However, I thought he was very fair in his analysis of his parents and included lots of happy times with them as well.
It’s very interesting how he was seized upon by the public as the boy from Winnie the Pooh, as if the tales were autobiographical. It’s understandable how this caused pain in the son, his private life with his toys laid bare for all to see, the things that should have been special to him and his family exploited for the nation‘s nostalgia. It also provided resentment for his father, who hated his son being given sole credit for his literary creation.
The stories about children writing to Milne or winning prizes to meet him are heartbreaking, both for the shy boy who was forced into playing this role and for the culture of celebrity that demanded it.
What also struck me was at what a young age Milne learned that the press lied. As a young boy he met a journalist on her way to interview his father. Their encounter wasn’t anything extraordinary, but in her article she wrote that he quoted his father’s poems. It made for a better story.
Despite the difficulties of being Christopher Robin, Milne also recounts lots of joyful memories of his childhood. He built amazing forts in the woods around his house, had great fun exploring the countryside, and had a lot of animal friends.
I award The Enchanted Places…
The Enchanted Places is available for $3.56 ebook and $16.99 print book on Amazon.