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... read more
Magical. If the word 'magical' didn't exist, we would have to invent it in order to properly describe Ray Bradbury's DANDELION WINE. The premise is absurdly simple: one summer in a small Midwestern town during the late 1920's. On the surface it doesn't look like a lot to hang a novel on, but... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Magical. If the word 'magical' didn't exist, we would have to invent it in order to properly describe Ray Bradbury's DANDELION WINE. The premise is absurdly simple: one summer in a small Midwestern town during the late 1920's. On the surface it doesn't look like a lot to hang a novel on, but Bradbury puts so much heart, soul and, yes, love into his words that I defy anyone to call it an empty book. Bradbury has always written superbly for children, and slipping his characters into his own nostalgic childhood succeeds on virtually every level.
've always preferred Bradbury's short stories to his full novels, yet here he successfully manages to have his cake and eat it too. Most of the chapters are self-contained little story segments. In fact, I had come across portions of this book in short story collections, and had no idea that they were smaller parts of a larger work. Yet DANDELION WINE is much more than just a collection of stories. The children and adults alike grow and change as the summer days burn and then fade. Just like a real season, some events are disconnected from the rest and can involve seldom seen people, while other proceedings are intrinsically linked to their peers.
The book itself is fairly difficult to sum up; every definition that I've tried coming up with has omitted several major elements. Of course, any summary that tried to include everything would be far too long and would contain none of the magic of the text. Children discover some fundamental and universal truths for the first time. Adults deal with their own fears and their own nightmares. And, of course, there are the usual wonderful collection of Bradbury eccentrics and strangers. Children are filled with awe and recognizably childlike without being annoying or unrealistic. There really are too many great little moments in this book to go into huge amounts of detail. To mention a handful of great things is to omit the other wonderful moments. Just like most perfect summers, the book isn't great because of one or two gigantic epics, but because of small quiet little days. From the silent thrill of feeling the grass beneath one's feet to the heartbreak at finding a lover at a point far too late in life, DANDELION WINE contains a huge amount of diversity under the cohesive umbrella of a typical summer. Two disparate events can be quite different in both content and feel, but Bradbury is more than talented enough to make them both feel like part of the same summer.
“And at last, slowly, afraid he would find nothing, Douglas opened one eye.And everything, absolutely everything, was there. The world, like a great iris of an even more gigantic eye, which has also just opened and stretched out to encompass everything, stared back at him.And he knew, what it was that had leaped upon him to stay and would not run away now,I'm alive, he thought.(p.9)”
“I'm really alive! he thought. (...)He yelled it loud but silent, a dozen times! (p.10)”
“There were some days compounded completely of odor, nothing but the world blowing in one nostril and out the other. And some days, he went on, were days of hearing every trump and trill of the universe. Some days were good for tasting and some for touching. And some days were good for all these senses at once.(p.4)”
“The grass whispered under his body.(p.9)”
“For John was running, and this was terrible. Because if you ran, time ran.(p.106)”
“When everyone's mouths were absolutely crammed full of miracles, Grandmother sat back and said, "Well, how do you like it?"(p.225)And the relatives, including Aunt Rose, and the boarders, their teeth deliciously mortared together at this moment, faced the terrible dilemma. Speak and break the spell, or continue allowing this honey-sirup food of the gods to dissolve and melt away to glory in their mouths? They looked as if they might laugh or cry at the cruel dilemma.(p.225)”
“They went down in the cellar with Grandpa and while he decapitated the flowers they looked at the summer shelved and glimmering there in the motionless streams, the bottles of dandelion wine.(p.236)”
“"It won't work," Mr. Bentley continued, sipping his tea. "No matter how hard your try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now. Time hypnotizes. When you're 9, you think you've always been 9 years old and will always be. When you're 30, it seems you've always been balanced there on that rim of middle life. And then when you turn 70, you are always and forever 70. You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen." (p.87)”
“" 'Maybe old people were never children, like we claim with Mrs. Bently, but, big or little, some of them were standing around at Appomatox the summer of 1865.' They got Indian vision and can sight back further than you and me will ever sight ahead."”Douglas Spaulding
'Bill, when you're my age, you'll find out it's the little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it's full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing.Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
Spin those mower blades, Bill, and walk in the spray of the Fountain of Youth.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
the only god living in the whole of Green Town, Illinois, during the twentieth century that Douglas Spaulding knew of.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
If you had your way you'd pass a law to abolish all the little jobs, the little things.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
you got to look for grapes as well as watermelons. You greatly admire skeletons and I like fingerprints; well and good. Right now such things are bothersome to you, and I wonder if it isn't because you've never learned to use them.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen.'Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
and you are the last apple on the tree; and you wait for the wind to work you slowly free from your hold upon the sky, and drop you down and down.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Long before you hit the grass you will have forgotten there ever was a tree, or other apples, or a summer, or green grass below.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
it was getting late and it was really night on this small street in a small town in a big state on a large continent on a planet earth hurtling down the pit of space toward nowhere or somewhereHighlighted by 3 Kindle customers
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