Monday, January 10, 2011

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I cannot pretend that this was the first time I ever read this book. It is more like my 10000001st time.

I would always pick up this novel when I was feeling bored or sad when I was a little kid. It got to the point where I knew every line by heart. I used to say that I could read the French version of the novel because it was half true - I knew the entire story and the lines on the page were barely necessary.

When a plane crashes, our narrator - a grown up who decided to never grow up - comes across a little prince from another planet. The story follows the tale and the travels of the prince before his landing on Earth. We are told of his home planet, which is no bigger than a house, including his two active volcanoes, one extinct volcano, and a delicately naive flower. The prince leaves his planet to explore the rest of the universe and encounters several silly grown ups on several silly planets. On every planet that he comes across, the grown ups in some way attempt to make him feel that they are more powerful or more successful than the little prince. Each time he leaves the planet, the little prince laughs at how ridiculous they are, and how lucky he is to not be a grown up. He lands on Earth and meets our narrator, requesting a drawing of a sheep from him. Through this simple and seemingly insignificant task, the narrator finds his lost love of art, which is the strongest symbol of his own lost childhood. Through his relationship with the little prince he is able to learn about more meaningful things than all of the grown ups on Earth ever could have taught him.

This novel always makes me feel young again, and it reminds me of the importance of not taking everything so seriously all of the time. The little prince teaches the narrator that serious things don't matter as much if you take the time to recognize the beautiful things.

I give this novel a 5/5. It has always been one of my favourites, and I urge anyone who has yet to read it to pick it up as soon as possible. There is something poetic about the simplicity of this story, and even though it is considered to be a children's novel, I believe that it has some very deep lessons for people of all ages. Everyone will find something to take out of this novel.

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