Kevin Kelsey's Reviews > The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-2015, 1001-books

Great observations, but personally I think it's overrated. It practically begs the reader to come to the conclusion that if you don't "get it" it's your own fault because you're a "grown up, and only kids can see what matters." It's heavy handed, clumsily executed observations on what's important in life. It's not wrong by any means, but it's kind of pseudo-intellectualist.

I'm going to go with a literal interpretation of the plot, because it's more fun that way:

A man crashes his plane in the desert, hallucinates a small alien boy that teaches him philosophical lessons, invents a history for him, finds a well just in time to stave off dehydration, as he re-hydrates, his hallucinated alien friend kills himself and disappears, he fixes his plane and flies home and is sad about it, but feels blessed for the experience as it has changed him.


Ready for the moral? It's really simple:
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important." Or in other words, spend your time developing relationships, don't worry so much about the things, they're not important, it's the time you spend and how you spend it that is.

That's a nice philosophy, I get it.
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Reading Progress

December 10, 2015 – Started Reading
December 10, 2015 –
page 31
27.43% (Mass Market Paperback Edition)
December 11, 2015 –
page 62
54.87% (Mass Market Paperback Edition)
December 11, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 18, 2016 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by Sorento62 (new) - added it

Sorento62 I like the book, but I also like your review.


Kevin Kelsey Sorento62 wrote: "I like the book, but I also like your review."

Thanks Sorento! I liked it too, it had a really nice message. I think that it's even an important message for us to hear every once in a while. It was just a little heavy handed.


Bionic Jean Yep, I pretty much thought the same Kevin! :)


message 4: by Denis (last edited May 25, 2017 04:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Denis It is just an early tiny little graphic novel. I read in in school (I went to a French school). It seemed a light, yet an interesting 'metaphor' work. I've always thought it was odd that it had drawn so much attention. I thought, at the time of reading, it was simply 'cute'.

What I found most interesting was not only that it was published the year before the author's death (1944), but that he he illustrated the book himself.


Jeff Franz-lien Interesting. I'd say the book falls into the category of romantic philosophy. If you're a pure romantic, you might be put off by the intrusion of philosophy in your romance. If you're a pure philosopher, you might angrily discard the romantic wrapper and find the reduction unsatisfying. So if you enjoy the book, you may be a romantic philosopher; a sort of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup who enjoys the strange synthesis.


Denis Well said Jeff.


Edvinas Gvozdiovas I really do get your point, but as someone who values meaningful relationships more than anything else in my life, I can't do anything but feel the most passionate and warm respect for the author.

It teaches extremely good values to kids, you have realized that of course.

Your interpretation might be a bit wrong as well - the book isn't telling you to ditch being an adult and stop worrying about stuff. It offers you a life philosophy that revolves around staying creative and childishly innocent forever, telling you not to forget who you were as a kid. Don't you think that's a beautiful idea?


Kevin Kelsey Edvinas wrote: "I really do get your point, but as someone who values meaningful relationships more than anything else in my life, I can't do anything but feel the most passionate and warm respect for the author. ..."

Absolutely, it's a fantastic idea, and it's something we should all strive toward. I love that concept to death. I just think this book is a way too heavily handed version of it. There's no subtlety to it at all.

If it teaches that concept to people, then that's fantastic, but I think it could be better and therefore even more effective if it had a measure of subtlety.


Edvinas Gvozdiovas You are right, though I would only really consider it as a negative aspect if the book was not for children.

I can't really argue, I'm not very literate. Perhaps I'll find a book that teaches similar values in a different way some day.

Do you know of any books that are better regarding this aspect in your opinion? I'd like to have some books for my kids one day.


Kevin Kelsey Edvinas wrote: "You are right, though I would only really consider it as a negative aspect if the book was not for children.

I can't really argue, I'm not very literate. Perhaps I'll find a book that teaches simi..."


Is it specifically for kids? I've only ever heard adults talk about it, having read it as adults. If it is meant for kids, then it makes a lot of sense for it to be the way it is, and probably will do more good being how it is.

I can't think of anything off the top of my head that has the same message with more subtlety.


message 11: by Sol-Anna (new) - added it

Sol-Anna I read this book when I was a child and I am not sure the book really can resonate with kids. To the younger me the little prince was too innocent and naive for me to care for the character or the message. Then again perhaps I was simply at an awkward age; too old to enjoy the surreal plotline and yet too young to have developed a jaded view on childhood.


Kevin Kelsey Sol-Anna wrote: "I read this book when I was a child and I am not sure the book really can resonate with kids. To the younger me the little prince was too innocent and naive for me to care for the character or the ..."

Have you seen the Netflix film version of it? In a strange way, I think it actually works much better than the book does. It's not very often that that happens.


Gabrielle To my knowledge, it's meant for kids. It was one of the very first books I read, when I was about 4. I think it's more common for French kids to have access to it very young, but I could be wrong about that. I think it certainly helped me learn a lot about the value of relationships, but re-reading it now, I agree that it lacks subtlety - at least from an adult perspective. Now I feel like getting a copy for my nephew, just to see what he thinks ;-)


message 14: by Adina (new) - rated it 1 star

Adina I so agree with you.


Priya "Clumsily executed observations" and "Pseudo intellectual detritus that freshman philosophy majors will discuss as they pass the joint"

Couldn't agree more!


Shazza I so agree. Hated this book and its silly childish 'messages'. Worst book ever, even worse than Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. So yes, it's that bad.


message 17: by Cara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cara Could not have agreed more, I was shocked this book received the praise that it did. I was bored of it, got the point early on but didn't need it drawn out to boredom for me.


Tarık Dikici I've just read one of the most overrated book of history.I am very happy to see someone said exactly what I thought when I finished this book.


message 19: by EmGreen (new)

EmGreen Umm.. I agree with you on some points. I think that pseudo-philosophic people who use this book as a "proof" of their intelligence are actually one of those "grown ups" critized in Prince.


Kevin Kelsey EmGreen wrote: "Umm.. I agree with you on some points. I think that pseudo-philosophic people who use this book as a "proof" of their intelligence are actually one of those "grown ups" critized in Prince."

Very good point. I like it.


message 21: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan I think you missed that this book is a childrens book. Or is as much one as it is aimed at adults. So, yes sure, it is silly. It is not meant to be an in depth enlightening discussion on the nature of reality or some shit. It is a whimsical, imaginative adventure for children or people who dont take life seriously. Although i was not a massive fan. It did have good points and was presented in a likeable manner. Again; kids book.


Dinakshi Arora Thank God! Finally someone said it! I thought I was losing my marbles by being the only one in the world not being awed and "awwww"ed by it. I found the book senseless and as mentioned by you silly. If there are life's lessons to be given, I am sure there can be a better way than pure gobbledygook.


Jasen I think you can not get “The Little Prince” and/or not think it’s great and not just default to crapping on it because it’s beloved by many others including this one. 😐


message 24: by A (new)

A I remember my grandma reading me this book when I was little girl and being thoroughly disturbed about him essentially committing suicide. It’s not really the kind of book I’d read to my own child. When I was little, I didn’t think it was silly at all. In fact, it was too sobering for my taste. But I agree, I too disliked the book then and now.


message 25: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey LOL. I love your refreshingly honest review.


message 26: by Kevin (last edited Apr 30, 2019 05:09AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kevin Kelsey Mar Escribano wrote: "Well Kevin Kelsey, your comment doesn’t come as a surprise to me. After all you are only an American who has read it in English and has absolutely no clue of world literature as you only look at things from your American point of view. Gosh how limited your views are of the world except what is American. Keep enjoying your hamburger literature as you possibly can’t understand the French chips or the Spanish Fandango. You are only capable of American"

I enjoyed The Little Prince, and it's message. Although I usually prefer philosophical messages in fiction to be more subtle a la Heinz Helle, Mario Vargas Llosa, or Alessandro Baricco. I quite enjoy Elena Ferrante's approach, as well as Karl Ove Knausgård's, although they are admittedly less subtle.

I do not recognize the straw man you defeated, but I do know people somewhat like him. If your opinions on this book are so fragile that you feel the need to invent such a creatively restrictive and reductive persona for anyone in possession of a conflicting perspective, in order to prop your own back up, I'll gladly play the role of the straw man for your benefit.

Consider me defeated. Just know how this appears to anyone reading it, and what it might project to the world about yourself. Whether that projection is true or not, I couldn't say and wouldn't presume. I don't know anything about you, and it would be incredible thoughtless of me to assume that I did.

I think everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions about art, literature, etc. My philosophy allows room for other perspectives. Does yours?


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