Look. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman.
I feel that way sometimes when trying to explain “Theo and Sprout” to people.
It’s a young adult book. It’s coming of age book. It’s a Jungian metaphor. It’s a coming of self book.
And it is all of these things, which could either speak to its depth or too its lack of focus. I am not a particularly objective voice on the situation.
The other day though someone remarked that it was essentially a self-help book disguised as a novel. I don’t think they meant it as a criticism. At least they didn’t refer to it as a morality play and compare it to “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Though I suppose I wouldn’t mind if it became that famous.
But the thought that “Theo and Sprout” could be viewed as a self-help book isn’t surprising. When I was close to finishing the book and speaking with a friend about it and trying to explain Sprout, I repeatedly referred to her as a spirit guide. And since Sprout came from within Theo, she could certainly be viewed as a self-spirit guide.
Theo is clearly looking for help. But instead of having to read a self-help book, Theo has Sprout there to chime in on situations. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Theo doesn’t get to choose when Sprout will drop some wisdom on him or what that wisdom might be. But perhaps that’s often the advice we need, not the advice we want.
In writing “Theo and Sprout” I viewed Sprout as the spirit guide I didn’t have when I was young. But I also viewed her as the spirit guide I probably still need. So I suppose that’s where the self-help nature of the book comes from. And I’m okay with that.