By: Ray Bradbury
The summer of ’28 is a transformative season for Douglas Spaulding. The summer is full of dandelion wine, new sneakers, tarot witches, Grandma’s magic dinners, and the unmistakable feeling of living in a vintage age. It was also a summer of lost friends and aging family. Of the understanding that all that lives will eventually die and the only way to see old age is to choose to carry on. A magical, timeless summer for a twelve-year-old boy that he won’t soon forget.
Dandelion Wine was my first non-sci-fi experience of Ray Bradbury. I was concerned that I wouldn’t end up liking the story as much because perhaps Bradbury’s charm from the other books wouldn’t shine through. I was completely wrong. He could have been commissioned to write the history of quilting and he would have been able to make it heartwarming and interesting.
Much like some of his other works I’ve read, Dandelion Wine is a collection of connecting short stories. The stories center around Douglas Spaulding and the various residents of Green Town, IL. The stories have a range of themes but overall fit into two categories: coming-of-age and growing old. The dichotomy worked well for the narrative because we see how Doug copes with his newfound understandings of the world and what it means to be alive. Given the stories are from a time almost 100 years gone, I think it’s fair to say that nostalgia is a central mood as well.
The novel is sad and heartfelt because it reminds us what it was like to be children learning the harsh truths of the world while also showing the joy of childhood wonder. Overall, I felt that the stories were meaningful and worth recommending, so definitely buy or rent a copy for yourself. I think you’ll enjoy it.
“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”
Overall rating: 5