Shel Silverstein the missing piece book cover

The Missing Piece

The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece
Shel Silverstein

Mentioning that Shel Silverstein wrote porn is maybe the only way to talk about the Missing Piece that won’t seem like every other review of it you’ve ever read.

Does it matter?

The answer is more about you than it is about him.

The book is one of the most renowned pieces of children’s literature. This is in part because so many adults are able to relate to it’s description of relationships. The Pac-Man-like circle rolls along finding different shapes and pieces that may be it’s missing piece. It’s a thinly veiled search for a friend, for completion, for love.

Children can instantly identify with the silliness and the simplicity of the story. Grownups will instantly recognize all their old relationships and exes in the circle’s many misadventures. There’s the relationship that didn’t get the attention it deserved so it fell apart and the one that was too controlling to the same effect. There are times of solitude and times of joy.

This promiscuous piece is always assumed to be a male but as it’s just a circle it could just as easily be female.

So does it matter that Shel Silverstein once wrote porn?

If it does that’s all about you. Shakespeare told dirty jokes in his plays. He had murders galore and all kinds of things. We still tell tall tales of Greek myth to our kids about deities that commit patricide and matricide and fratricide to boot. There’s incest and cannibalism and all sorts of nastiness in there. but kids basically turn out ok no worse the wear for it. Don’t even get me started on Grimm’s fairy tales.

To me it only matters that Shel Silverstein wrote a good book. Whatever else is in his body of work doesn’t change that fact and I won’t hold making a living against the guy.

So read the Missing Piece. Enjoy the layers and don’t worry about the rest.