I Can't Wait
by Serge Bloch, David Cali
I Canít Wait is a book disguised as an envelope. It could be likened to an envelope disguised as a book, though; between its covers, in some 150 words and 25 line drawings, is a profound encapsulation of the human experience.
9 / 10
Originally published in French, I Canít Wait is at first a childrenís book. The illustrations are decidedly minimal pen outlines with sparse detail and the only color in the entire book is a perfectly-integrated picture of a piece of thick red thread. The thread serves as everything from a velvet rope in a movie theatre line to a sweater to an umbilical cord. I Canít Wait doesnít stay a childrenís book. With each page, the nameless boy gets older, not only evidenced by the drawings but also by the central concept of the book: his wants have changed.
On the first page, he cannot wait to be big. Halfway through, heís anticipating his return from war. By the end, heís struggling through grieving over his wife. I donít remember exactly where in the shop I found I Canít Wait, but I think it was next to both the baby books and the small selection of books for Grown-Ups, most of them parenting manuals.
Just in case the symbolism of the thread was lost on us, the back shows it twisted into a heart and some text reading ďthe thread of life.Ē The book isnít exactly subtle in conveying that idea, and somehow that gratuitous explanation seemed belittling. Aside from that, the execution is perfect. The drawings, thread, and text share the business-envelope sized pages gracefully and interestingly. I Canít Wait wouldnít make a bad coffee table book.
I Canít Wait ends with a resoluteness much different from that of a child who wants to be big. It is not the persistence that exists only from lack of failure. Itís the determination and excitement of a person who knows whatever spark of knowledge it is that long years bring.