J. Aleksandr Wootton's Reviews > The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
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Jan 19, 12


Trying to review The Wind in the Willows is a strange undertaking. In the introduction to my copy, A. A. Milne wrote:

"One can argue over the merits of most books... one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, he asks her to return his letters. The old man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. ... When you sit down to [read] it, don't be so ridiculous as to suppose you are sitting in judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worthy; I don't know. But it is you who are on trial."

Milne's comments may seem overly grave, especially to those familiar with Grahame's lighthearted, whimsical, occasionally mystical, story of Mole and Water Rat's genteel life on the bank of the River and the adventures of the incorrigible and ridiculous (and highly entertaining) Mr. Toad, wanton son of worthier sires, but look here: if you love the story, you are clearly on the side of the Hobbits (indeed, if you want to know what life in the Shire is like, I can't think of a better book to refer you to); and if you dislike it, you may be an Orc at heart - seducable, like Toad, away from quiet contemplative enjoyment of this sometimes-slow book by the flash and boom of technological gimmickry. You might be the kind of person who prefers to run on an electric treadmill or rubber sports track than hike a nature trail.

And if you are, I hope you have friends as stubbornly loyal as Mole, Water Rat, and Badger who will stick by you, in spite of yourself, until you come around.
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Quotes J. Aleksandr Liked

Kenneth Grahame
“There’s nothing––absolutely nothing––half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind In The Willows
tags: boats

Kenneth Grahame
“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame
“It seemed a place where heroes could fitly feast after victory, where weary harvesters could line up in scores along the table and keep their Harvest Home with mirth and song, or where two or three friends of simple tastes could sit about as they pleased and eat and smoke and talk in comfort and contentment.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame
“The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows


Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Outlier (new)

Outlier Babe Your words proved a worthy followup to Milne's. Very nicely done, sir.


J. Aleksandr Wootton Outlier wrote: "Your words proved a worthy followup to Milne's. Very nicely done, sir."

Thank you! =)


message 3: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan thank you for your review!


Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Excellent review. You are my kind of person.


J. Aleksandr Wootton Orinoco wrote: "Excellent review. You are my kind of person."

Ha! Let's be friends =)


Cliff Watt Superb review and thank you so much for quoting Milne, not sure I would ever have had the joy of reading that had you not done so!

Spot on!


message 7: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth I enjoyed your review substantially more than I did the book. Maybe next year, I'll read it before The Hobbit (which was far superior imho).


Mikki Wonderful final sentence! Well done!


Andy Mckinney Love your review!


Roger Klein To rephrase what I hear A A Milne says; You can't choose Wind in the Willows - it chooses you


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