The Tree, from the beloved book The Giving Tree, sent shockwaves through the children's literature community with the release of an explosive tell-all memoir, Broken Branches, Broken Dreams.
In it, The Tree claims author Shel Silverstein's depiction of her relationship with the boy was largely fiction. "Why do you think he didn't use our real names?" The Tree asked. "He didn't want anyone to know who we really were. He couldn't risk the public realizing The Boy was an asshole." She continued bitterly, "For the sake of book sales, Shel had the world believing I was happily a martyr, but behind the scenes I was miserable. The Boy took all I had and ultimately it destroyed me. I would have started drinking if I had arms."
The Tree went on to characterize the boy as extremely charming and charismatic while simultaneously needy and prone to bouts of depression. "He was forever rooting around for that elusive one thing that would make him happy. When he came back after selling my apples we locked into a dysfunctional pattern -- he'd take a piece of me and leave, I'd be alone and pine. Years of therapy helped me realize I was a codependent enabler -- The Boy took the low-hanging fruit because I always gave it to him. But back then I couldn't see the forest through the -- well, you know."
When asked if there was a rock-bottom moment that illuminated the toxic nature of the relationship, she responded, "I woke up after he took my trunk. What am I -- bamboo? It's not like this shit grows back." The Tree added, "I should have told him to, 'go get blood from Stone Soup, mother fucker.'"