These two books by Shel Silverstein, are in themselves two parts that make a whole. The two books describe peoples struggles with relationships and various alternatives.
The Missing Piece (An Ursula Nordstrom Book)
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O
In the first book, the missing piece, a circle that has a missing piece, goes on a journey. For me the circle is a female, although in the book she has no gender. She believes that the her partner must be another piece, who would exactly match the slice that is missing and make a perfect circle. She is able to enjoy the journey to some degree, but is invested in finding that missing piece. The circle meets many pieces on her way, but none of them is an exact fit. She doesn’t give up. She rolls along happily, talking to a butterfly, smelling a flower, and singing her song. Although she enjoys her journey, she does not appreciate that joy since she is so intent on her search to find that precise match to her missing piece. On the way the circle finds various slices that can fit to some degree but none is a perfect fit, some leave a void and others are oversized with their point gouging into the circle.
After a long eventful journey the missing piece joyfully finds a slice that makes her perfectly whole. Now as a perfect circle she whizzes past the flower and the worm so fast that she can no longer appreciate them. The circle decides that it is better to be without that perfect missing piece so that she is better able to take in her surroundings. The simple story can be easily interpreted as our search for the romantic notion of the perfect love, the precise match for us. What the book conveys is how being intent on searching for an answer to that romantic notion we can miss out on many things. Even more powerfully it shows the the complexity of relationships and that all relationships have a price that we may not be willing to pay.
In the second book “The missing piece meets the big O” We meet the missing piece again. She roles around experiencing life. As she roles around her shape slowly changes and the missing slice eventually disappears so that she becomes a whole circle without finding a complimentary piece for her missing slice. At one point the missing piece finds a big O and together they role around side by side. This second, more optimistic book, shows Shel Silverstein’s view of human relationships. In his view, when someone seeks out a relationship to fill a void it will eventually lead to either a mismatch or suffocation. Only when a person feels whole with themselves can a mature relationship develop where two people enjoy life together.
Someone on Amazon recommended these two books as a wedding gift. Not a bad idea.