Monday, July 10, 2006

Dandelion Wine and Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury

Well, I got assigned to review Ray Bradbury's new book, Farewell Summer, which is a continuation/sequel/related book to Dandelion Wine, Bradbury's classic novel of lyrical boyhood in the 1920s.

So I figured I ought to read DW first, and, well, hm. I can see why it's a classic; it's kind of like Tom Sawyer but if Mark Twain was suffering from an attack of Beautiful Writing and Sentimental Nostalgia. The descriptions are lovely, and there is basically no plot.

But come on now! It was published when he was 37, and parts of it appeared elsewhere when he was as young as 24. Is there really a need for such relentless nostalgia at that age? It's almost suffocating. I mean, I guess he just reeeeally liked being a kid in 1928. The book follows Doug, who is pretty much the author as a boy, and his brother Tom, through an idyllic summer in the midwest. They go around and do kid things, and there are weird old people, and ice cream, and a scary killer in the ravine. It's all nice, it's just a bit...front-porchy.

Farewell Summer, according to the author's note, was mostly written at the same time, and was supposed to be part of Dandelion Wine but was left out due to length. (Which seems odd, DW isn't especially long.)

I think it would in fact work better if the two were combined into one book--FS is actually a bit more plotty and gives the whole thing somewhere to arrive at. Basically, FS takes the story into more of a Peter Pan territory, where the boys of DW are waging war against the old men of the town in order to not have to grow up. Of course, in the end they discover girls, and they decide that maybe they can grow up a little.

This is the sort of thing that would be awesome if you like this sort of thing. I don't really like this sort of thing that much.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yayy for updates! i don't really have anything specific to comment on other than that. woohoo!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAPPY TWO MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF NOT READING ANYTHING NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Marian The said...

Yeah, yeah. :)

8:46 PM  

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