The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

by George Saunders
 
In my Intro to Sociology class, we do one-page critiques of assigned books and articles. The first one for the semester was a Hugh Nibley article about the importance of having both zeal and knowledge. My critique earned me only 6 out of 10 points, and I was devastated by one of the comments made by a TA: “Please go to the writing lab for help with your writing,” it said. Quite honestly I feel like I have more-than-decent writing, especially when I see the work of some of my peers. But I tried extremely hard and managed to get a 9 on the critique for Gappers!
 
Gappers are strange orange-ish prickly sponge-ish shaped creatures that live in the sea next to the small town of Frip, where there are 3 houses. The owners of each house also own goats. Gappers love goats. Every day they climb up from the sea, over the cliff, into the yards, and onto the goats, where they latch themselves and emit a continual high-pitch shriek of pleasure. One day the gappers decide that instead of spreading out and traveling to all 3 yards, they will just latch onto the goats in the yard nearest the sea. (The owners of the houses make their children remove the gappers from the goats twice every day and toss them back into the sea.) The problem is that the neighbors refuse to help the girl who now has three times as many gappers on her goats. And the book is about what happens in their little town as a result.
 
Very amusing story, lots of messages to pick up, and fun pictures. Definitely recommended.

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One thought on “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

  1. parent says:

    I recently bought this book after reading great reviews online. After reading it myself, there is no way I would read it to my children.

    I am amazed by the positive feedback for this book. It may be somewhat creative, but the ‘moral of the story’ is quite lousy. In the story, all adults of the town are successful and extremely lazy, but because they are unintelligent, they all believe that they are successful because they are hard workers. It is revealed to readers that the good fortune of the adults is actually caused by totally random events that they are not smart enough to understand.

    One day, one family in the town falls on hard times for an unpredictable and random reason. Because all adults fail to recognize that their success is a result of luck rather than hard work, they all refuse to help out. As a result of this, they all fall on hard times.

    The moral of the story is not about compassionate sharing, although that would have been nice. The moral is about successful people oweing help to the less fortunate because the success they enjoy is a random event that was not earned or deserved. A rather negative outlook on life that does not speak highly of the author’s own virtues.

    I suppose that if you dislike taking responsibility for your actions and you hope your children will do the same, this book provides a useful perspective. For those who want to raise their children otherwise, I would suggest avoiding this book.

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