I want to write something like this. I want to write a short, simple, but peculiar little book that would touch somebody just as much as The Little Prince touched me. I don’t really know how to explain this story in a way that would do it justice, so here is that little summary on the back of the book that is supposed to promote the contents…
The Little Prince is a classic tale of equal appeal to children and adults. On one level it is the story of an airman’s discovery in the desert of a small boy from another planet – the Little Prince of the title – and his stories of intergalactic travel, while on the other hand it is a thought-provoking allegory of the human condition. First published in 1943, the year before the author’s death in action, this new translation contains Saint-Exupéry’s delightful illustrations.
This might be one of my most favourite books. Of course, it is no Dickensian masterpiece, and it isn’t as strong of plot as Shakespearean plays are (obviously!), it isn’t masterfully seasoned with Wilde’s witty remarks; in few, it isn’t a literary phenomenon. But it is different. And short, straightforward, and oh so true! I will refer to some lines that struck me as most true.
“‘One day, I watched the sun setting forty-four times,’ you told me. And a little later, you added: ‘You know. . . when one is so terribly sad, one loves sunsets. . .'”
“‘ I admire you,’ said the little prince with a slight shrug of his shoulders, ‘but why should that mean so much to you?'”
“Grown-ups of course will never believe you. They think that they take up a lot of space. They consider themselves as important as baobabs.”
“‘None of you is at all like my rose. As yet you are nothing,’ he said to them. ‘Nobody has tamed you and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first encountered him. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I made him my friend and now he is unique in the world. ‘”
There were more moments that made me stop for a second, take my eyes off the page, and think. This little book is perfect. Just like the little prince.
I realize this is not a “proper review”, but I hope you, Reader, will cast your eye on this little book, be it in the library, on somebody else’s lap, or in a bookstore. And I hope that one day you will pick it up, and read it. Only then will you know how hard it is to review in words and figures something that is meant to be understood in the heart, not the mind.