Saturday 20 October 2018

Mary Kenny: A cheesy tale

A childish fable about the impact of change opened my eyes

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

I'm delighted - and honoured - to be co-hosting an event at Listowel Writers' Week later tonight, when people will speak about 'The Book That Changed Me'. But it's embarrassing to have to disclose one of the books that changed me because it is so unliterary, so corny and, frankly, so low-brow that commentators have said a child of six could have written it. But there you are: enlightenment comes in the most unexpected guises.

This was the early 2000s and I was in New York with my sister. It was a complicated period in my life, personally and professionally, and I was worried about money, as my income had suddenly dropped dramatically. Browsing in Barnes & Noble, I took up a little volume which at first I took to be a comic book, with funny drawings. It seemed to be about mice and little men, and it was called Who Moved My Cheese?. On a whim, I bought it.

It's a fable of such simplicity that, indeed, even a young child could understand it, and the story goes thus: once upon a time, in a land far away, there were four little characters who dwelt in a giant Maze. These were two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two miniature human beings, "Littlepeople", called Hem and Haw.

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