That's why I loved reading John Steinbeck's book Of Mice and Men as a kid. It had characters you cared about. They had heart and soul; you believed, you cared, you cried.
Lenny in Of Mice & Men likes dead mice as they are soft.
Linguini in Ratatouille likes a rat as it helps him cook.
But the difference?
In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Lenny & George dream of a better life. Steinbeck doesn't deliver it to them.
In Ratatouille the rodent is soft but alive, as is the message of the script. Brad Bird delivers the dream.
Which is closer to life?
Most of the time we get the Steinbeck conclusion, the hope is allusive, life smashes our dreams in painful blows.
But just occasionally we get the Ratatouille. The hope, the dream delivers.
I think that's why adults like films like Ratatouille, we know that the world is cast as a Steinbeck landscape, but the child in us knows there is always the hope of a happy ending.
We need both in literature. I dislike the demand for a happy ending as much as I hate the insistence that a real, gritty, literary book should have an end note of despair.
A kid's film with a rat compared to a classic literary giant like Of Mice and Men?
Stranger things are in my head!
Maybe I'll show you sometime.
What do you think: Is there such a thing as a happy ending in the real world?