Faithful Are the Wounds of a Friend
As a child, the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes made a lasting impression on me. I can visualize the illustration of the saggy-bunned, chicken-legged Emperor with his big, white wig and haughty face parading down a crowded street, nude (except for those knee socks and pointy shoes). This isn’t the exact illustration from the Hans Christian Andersen collection we had in our home, but it’s close.
All the adults pretend the Emperor is wearing a new, custom-tailored outfit. All the children squeezing their eyes shut or suppressing laughter behind their hands. My mother explained to me and my sisters that this story reveals the ugly truth of popular opinion. If enough people are willing to express the same opinion, nobody will want to say otherwise out of fear of going against what is largely accepted.
This idiom informs the way I currently respond to books.
In the past, if I didn’t have a good reading experience, I just wouldn’t respond to it. I only saw value in promoting the books I loved, downplaying books I did not. So I would mark the book as “read” on public platforms like Goodreads but didn’t rate or review it. Silence carries weight, so I figured that would be enough of an expression.
But the script has been flipped.