I wanted to love this book. I was excited and was sure I would. But it fell a bit flat for me.
However, if you grew up loving Mr. Rogers or if you have learned since becoming an adult about this remarkable man, you should read The Good Neighbor, despite its length and sometimes dry detail. You will certainly come away with a renewed sense of awe about the brilliance of America’s favorite neighbor.
The book chronicles Rogers entire life from his wealthy and protected upbringing to his death from stomach cancer at age 75. King’s remarkable and in-depth research provides the book hundreds of details and stories about Fred’s lonely childhood, philanthropic family, love of music and puppetry, college days and marriage.
Not until the middle third of the book do we begin to really see Fred become Mr. Rogers. It’s here that we learn how his childlike demeanor combined with his; passion for early childhood education, unfailing Christian faith, exemplary moral compass, spectacular musical talent, groundbreaking methodical writing and editing standards and deep love and concern for children – create children’s programming that has never and will never be surpassed in quality and impact. And all from this quiet and brilliant man.
Satirist love to poke fun even today at Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But for me, Rogers is someone we should all admire, remember and emulate. His signature value was human kindness. He lived, breathed and preached it to anyone who would listen.
Rogers was a man of acceptance. He asks those around him to make good choices and be accepting to all kinds of humans but especially children. Because “It’s You I Like”.
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.
– Fred Rogers
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for the Good Neighbor by Maxwell King
Read last week’s review of Still Life