The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated from the French by Katherine Woods. | Format: Hardcover, 97 pages, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1943. | Source: Own. | Add to your Goodreads TBR here!
“And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night… You–only you–will have stars that can laugh!” —The Little Prince, p. 88
I don’t know how many times I’ve read The Little Prince now. This was probably at least my third time, though possibly I’ve read it more than that. I remember I read it the first time as a kid and didn’t really grasp it fully. I liked it, I liked the little prince, I liked the boa eating the elephant, but I didn’t understand what was behind the adults with their “matters of consequence”. It wasn’t until I got a bit older that the story made sense and I understood the prince’s curiosity, love, and disappointment. I read this book the last time in 2010, and now, five years later, I was hit by its themes and meanings even more than before.
This is a classic novella by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. You could say it is a children’s book, but I think it is suited for teens and adults, too. Everyone can enjoy this, kids because of it’s beautiful illustrations and adventure, and adults and young adults because of how it makes you pause and reflect on how our motives and ideas change as we age and take on new responsibilities.
The book is about a pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and comes across the little prince. The prince has left his tiny home asteroid of B-612 in search of, to be general, the importance of life. He leaves behind his beautiful rose, the invasive baobab trees, the three volcanoes (two active, one dormant), and the lovely sunrises and sunsets and travels from planet to planet, meeting a host of people who have a variety of different beliefs and existences. He meets a king, a conceited man, a tippler, a businessman, a lamplighter, and a geographer–all before it is suggested he visit Earth. Upon landing on Earth, the prince encounters a snake, flowers (including more roses), a merchant, a fox that wants to be tamed, a railway switchman–and then he meets our narrator, the pilot who can only draw boa constrictors from the outside and boa constrictors from the inside.
The Little Prince is a touching story about grown-ups and their narrow beliefs and about the beauty and innocence of youth. It is a must-read, a sort of story you should’t pass up on. The ending can be interpreted in different ways, either through the mind of an adult, or through the mind of an unknowing child. How did I perceive this melancholy story? Through the eyes of an adult who still wants to be/is a child at heart. ♦