Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Book Review - The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

I just went through three days of a mad spring clean in my house (hence my disappearance, sorry!) and while I found (and threw away) a lot of clutter I also rescued some forgotten and lost treasures.

One of the treasures I found was my favourite book: The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry. Now, I know you should not really have favourites if you are an aspiring writer or reviewer, but I love this book for many reasons. One of which, and perhaps the main reason, is that although on the surface it is a children's book if you read in between the lines it is a serious critique on society, love, life and death.

The Little Prince meets the main character, an aviator that has crashed in the desert just like Exupéry himself, during his travels from his home planet B-612. During his journey he comes across an array of people and planets: a man who thinks himself a king when he is clearly not, a vain man who sees everyone as his admirers, a drunkard who drinks to forget he is a drunkard, a man who thinks he owns the stars and that makes him very rich, a workaholic who works himself to death for no apparent reason, a geographer who does not like to explore, and finally a pilot who wanted to be an artist but was told to get a real job. All of which are markers, if not issues, of today's society. Not to mention the Little Prince's love for a rose back in his home planet and how they took each other for granted as well as his view on how dying is just going home to somewhere where you will see all your loved ones again.

It is a wonderful book. Exupéry is a writing genius and, while a child will read this as an adventure, an adult will learn some precious lessons if paying attention. Here are my favourite quotes:

"Gown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?" They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof...", they won't be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs." Then they exclaim, "What a pretty house!" Pg. 10

"I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies." Pg. 27

"For me you're only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I'm only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we'll need each other. You'll be the only boy in the world for me. I will be the only fox in the world for you (...) You become responsible forever for what you've tamed." Conversation from Pg. 59 to 64

"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes." Pg. 71

Perhaps now you can see why I love this book so much? I would not only recommend that you read it but, if you have any, I recommend you read it with you children. It is a lovely family book.

OUT OF CURIOSITY: Exupéry has the longest name I have ever seen! Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint Exupéry. It is believed The Little Prince was inspired by Exupéry's experience while stranded in the Sahara Desert after a plane crash in 1935.  He was not only a commercial pilot, but also a French pilot during World War II. His plane mysteriously disappeared off the French coast on his last mission in 1944 and his body was never found, although the body of an unknown French soldier was recovered several days later but never proven to be his. They did, however, find his plane and his identification bracelet a few years later. 

Book Rating: *****
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  1. This book sounds great! I especially like the quote: "One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes." Pg. 71

    I always think when you get to know more about the authors it makes the story feel more real.

  2. i seriously loved dis book and m soo exited to draw its book cover page as my english holiday homework....:D

  3. It's a lovely book. My absolute favourite.

  4. I really love tales.
    My favorite book is the little prince. When I read this book I cried.The Little Prince is the chief character of this a fairy tale. He is very sensitive and charming boy. He did not like everything. He loves beauty.He loves nature.I read this tale singly.Someone does not understand this book.But I love this story.

    1. I know what you mean. That is because this book is written in 2 levels. At the top it's a children's story, but if you read in between the lines, it tells a second tale. I personally think it's a writing masterpiece. :)


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