Dandelion Wine (Green Town #1) by Ray Bradbury
Published July 1957
The summer of ’28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma’s belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding—remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.
True to Bradbury style, this book is hauntingly beautiful without ‘being pushy’ to prove a point. I feel as though I am right on the cusp of the perfect age to truly understand this story. 30 – many years behind, many years still ahead. Young and old at the same time. Young enough to have a life ahead of me, old enough to have endured loss and tragedy. To have seen the evil of this world.
It is nostalgic without being maudlin or self pitying. It is magical without being vulgar and ostentatious. It bobs and weaves around the darkness and light of being alive, of being young or old and, always at the center, of being human.
This quote spoke so much to me.
“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost 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.”
“A good night sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.”
It could be that that thirty-year old is better suited to understand the perspective of the mature writer than the 16-year-old reader, or it could just be that this great work speaks on many different levels.
“The first thing you learn in life is you’re a fool. The last thing you learn in life is you’re the same fool.”
Fundamental Bradbury, this work explores many of the themes that are representative of his canon: coming of age, spirituality, imagination, and the importance of remaining human amidst an ever increasingly dehumanizing world of technology.