Most of the books in the Ainsi Va La Vie series are brutally realistic, but every now and then the author decides she just can't do it. This is one of the rare exceptions. The book is about bed-wetting, and I can hardly think of anything more shameful and traumatic for an eight year old boy.
As she explains, childhood incontinence is most often brought on by stress. There's a realistic depiction in Lindquist's Låt den rätte komma in
, and the matter-of-fact way in which Oskar puts a piece of foam-rubber in his underpants to soak up his urine is at least as scary as the zombie attack in the cellar. Dominique de Saint Mars maybe considered a treatment along similar lines, and decided it wouldn't work for this audience.
Instead, it's a kind of reverse exposition that reminded me of Kevin Kline's 1997 movie, In & Out
. As you may recall, Kline gets outed and loses his job as a result. A realistic treatment would have shown his life being horribly and comprehensively destroyed. But Frank Oz, like the author of Ainsi Va La Vie, prefers the comic route. At the end, when you're sure it's all over for Kline, the citizens of his little town decide they're going to display solidarity. Every single guy in the room stands up in turn and declares that he's also gay; evidently, if the whole male population is gay, you can't discriminate against gays. It would never happen, but that's exactly the point Oz wants to make.
So, here, Max is on a skiing trip with his class, and he just can't help wetting his bed every night. The nice lady teacher tries to help him cover, but the male skiing instructor finds out and starts bullying him. Max is distraught. However, his friends refuse to join in the bullying! The next morning, every single one of them intentionally pisses in his bed. You can see them all standing there proudly holding their little penises and getting the sheets as wet as possible. The bully is furious, but, again, there's nothing he can do. Max gradually recovers his self-confidence. By the end of the story, he's solved the problem and is dry again.
I prefer the realistic stories, but this one was also good. If your child has a bed-wetting problem, you might want to consider checking it out.