I'd never heard of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry until becoming a book blogger. Other bloggeOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I'd never heard of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry until becoming a book blogger. Other bloggers have raved about it being one of their favourite children's classics, and how much it meant to them, so when I was offered the opportunity to review it, I decided to see why it is so dearly loved. Now I completely understand.
When a pilot crashes in the Sahara, with only eight days to fix his plane before his water runs out, the last thing he expects is to meet a Little Prince - a young boy from another planet. The Little Prince regales the pilot with stories of his tiny home planet, with it's three volcanoes (one extinct, but "you never know"!) and his flower - a vain and arrogant flower - but one he loves dearly, and of the many moral lessons he learns on his travels to other planets before he comes to Earth. The Little Prince teaches the pilot so many things, and is forever changed by the little boy.
The Little Prince is such a wonderful, wonderful story! I was absolutely bowled over by this sweet little boy and the insight that comes through because of his innocence. I was moved by his relationship with his flower and the love he felt for it, and how something (or someone) can be so special and important to you, even if there are others quite a lot like it. There's also something brilliant to be said about platonic love and friendship, no matter how short, and the line, "It was worth it for the colour of wheat", really touched me. Other discussions covered by The Little Prince are on superiority, materialism and ownership, work, loneliness; it's written in a way that everything seems really obvious, but, despite this being a children's book, I did have a few light bulb moments. The topics covered were obvious, but it's the way the Little Prince talks about them, his perspective, that really opened my eyes.
The Little Prince is a beautiful story, and I absolutely loved it. I can completely understand why this book is such a classic, and I'm sure it will be marvelling readers for years to come.
Thank you to Alma Classics for the review copy....more
I thought Bone Gap by Laura Ruby sounded incredible when I first heard about it earlier in the year when itOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I thought Bone Gap by Laura Ruby sounded incredible when I first heard about it earlier in the year when it was published in the US, so I was really excited to discover that it was going to be published over here, too. It's completely captivating!
Bone Gap is such an intriguing story. It's told for the most part from the perspective of Finn and Roza, though occasionally we'll get chapters from Petey, the girl Finn is interested in, and Sean, Finn's older brother. We, the readers, know that Roza has been abducted, and you can't help but be frustrated that no-one is looking, and terrified of what will end up happening to her. Finn is the only one who knows the truth, but no-one will believe him, and what can he do? He's forever on the look out for the man who took her, but he just can't find him. He is carrying so much guilt over not being able to do anything now, over not doing more at the time, and so much fear of what will happen - or has happened - to Roza.
Roza is being kept by a man with strange powers, a man who can change where Roza is kept while she sleeps. She's in a house one day, and the next a castle. She has no idea where she is, and her attempts to escape always fail - it seems the man has thought of everything. He comes to see her each day to ask her the same question; "Do you love me yet?" He is obsessed with her beauty, a beauty she has come to hate. Roza remembers a time before - before she was kidnapped, before she was in Bone Gap, back when she was at university in the US, and back when she was home in Poland, and the way she was treated by boys because of how she looked.
There is a strong feminist theme that runs throughout Bone Gap on how women are seen. Roza attracted attention the attention from guys because she was very beautiful, but these guys felt they were entitled to her because she was so beautiful, or that her beauty made her think she was better than them when she decided to end things. The abuse she received is disgusting and terrifying, and she came to see her beauty as a curse, trying to make herself as unattractive as possible, to become invisible, so she doesn't attract the attention of men. It isn't until she arrives in Bone Gap, broken and bruised, that she experiences kindness from guys, when Sean and Finn help her and give her the keys to their apartment so she has somewhere to stay to rest and recover where she can lock the door. She is initially scared of them, more so of Sean, but it doesn't take long for her to realise their kindness and care is genuine, and they won't hurt her. It's something she's never known before, and slowly, slowly, she starts to fall for Sean, who sees beyond her beauty to the person inside.
There's also Petey, who has larger than normal features. The people of Bone Gap think her ugly, and rumours have spread that she is so desperate for attention that she'll have sex with anyone. This is not helped by the fact that her body has changed and become desirable to men, even if her face isn't. Because of how she's treated, she's become quite fierce, strong, and angry. She's always ready to defend herself as become accustomed to verbal abuse, and the hurtful, disgusting, cutting things people say to her are just awful. Underneath her fierceness, however, she is vulnerable; what people say hurts, she doesn't have a great opinion of herself, and when things start happening with Finn - who is extremely good looking - she's so hopeful but also waiting for things to go wrong; to discover he's using her, or not really interested. But Finn is genuinely interested in her; he doesn't see an ugly girl, he sees a pretty girl, someone he has feelings for.
There's another aspect of the story I really want to talk about, but it's kind of spoilery, so don't read ahead if you're planning on reading Bone Gap and don't want it spoilt for you.
(view spoiler)[Finn has Prosopagnosia - face blindness, which is why he's unable to describe the man who abducted Roza. But this only comes out towards the end of the book, because Petey pieces a few things together and does some research. This is so sad, because Petey reads that people with Prosopagnosia are attracted to those who have unusual features, so this confirms to her in her mind that she is ugly, that it's the only reason Finn can see her, that he is attracted to her. It's so sad, and it's heartbreaking for Finn to discover there's something "wrong" with him. A reason why people think he's weird, why he always seems distracted, and never looks anyone in the eye. He is as "strange" as everyone thinks he is, he is different.
This is the second book I've read where a main character has prosopagnosia, and it was such a different story. In Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven, Jack knows the whole time something is wrong, because he used to be able to see people's faces properly, before an accident. But it looks like Finn was born with Prosopagnosia, because he knows no difference, and doesn't realise that other people don't see people the way he does, or that they're able to see and remember people's faces. So, with hindsight, looking back over the story, it's interesting to see someone live with this disability and how he learns how to recognise people. (hide spoiler)]
Despite how much I enjoyed Bone Gap, I did feel like there was something missing. Magical realism stories never explain the fantastical elements of the story. There are no answers to "How?" or "Why?", but there are no questions, because the way it's written just has you accepting that these things just happen. There's an enchantment to the storytelling that sweeps you along with it. But that was missing from Bone Gap. I did think "How?" and "Why?" and although I knew I wouldn't get any answers, I was still a little annoyed that I wasn't told. I was totally captivated by the story, but I wasn't lost in the storytelling.
But it's just a small gripe in what is a really wonderful story, that will leave you on the edge of your seat, with no idea how it will end. It will break and warm your heart several times over,