Book Talk: The Little Prince

8:30:00 PM

The Little Prince was one of those books I couldn't believe I'd never read - so I decided it was time to change that! Both an illustrated book for children and a complex allegory for adults, The Little Prince was not at all what I expected - it was more. It's hard to piece together what it is, exactly, that is so universally appealing about this book.

A great deal of it's appeal - for me, at least - was the familiarity and intimacy with which the author addresses his audience - even the dedication anticipates the author's expected reaction from the reader, as well as acknowledges the chasm between the two very different audiences Saint-Exupéry is trying to reach. Written for children, who have endless questions and little patience for condescension, the author answers questions and teaches lessons without ever seeming as though that is what he is trying to do.

Through his travels to distant lands, the little prince learns about the ways grown ups think - about ownership, and power, and purpose, about matters of consequence, narrowness of thought, the absence of imagination, the frustration of unanswerable questions, and what is really important.

I'm sure that many literary experts have analyzed the significance of the moral and spiritual allegory contained within these pages and tried to determine what is is, exactly, that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was trying to say about the nature of life and death and the inevitability of growing up, and I'm sure they have done so in a way that is much more eloquent than anything I could ever come up with, so instead I'll say this - I'm so glad I read this book; it's earned a place in my heart.

I hope I never grow up so much that I stop seeing boa constrictors from the outside, though I fear I already have. I'm not such a grown up, though, that I've had to learn to listen for laughter among the stars, and for that I am grateful. This book makes me happy and sad in ways that only the best books can, and I feel like I'm a better person for reading it. In short, I recommend this tale wholeheartedly to everyone who has ever loved to hear a fairytale, no matter how long ago that may have been.

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