Chris Kuhn's Reviews > The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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really liked it
bookshelves: summerreadchallenge-2018
Read 2 times. Last read May 27, 2018 to May 29, 2018.

I was looking forward to this read probably more than any of the books that I'll be reading for the first time this summer as part of my Great American Read Summer Challenge 2018. (See my recent blog on that subject here, I had seen an animated telling of the tale not too long ago on Netflix and have vivid memories of grading English papers about the book for my journalism teacher advisor's classes as a student assistant. Yet even as I was grading them, I kept wondering about this charming little tale I had heard so much about.

For that reason, I may have gone into the read with unfairly high expectations. I enjoyed THE LITTLE PRINCE and certainly appreciate the many subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) messages that an adult will appreciate moreso than a younger reader might. An aviator crash lands, and as he attempts to compose himself and strives to survive, he meets up with an unusual stranger from a strange land. We have no idea just how strange that land is until this new figure - small in stature, giant in storytelling - begins sharing descriptions about his own tiny planet and the various other stops at neighboring planets he has stumbled upon during his tumble to Earth.

The book's greatest known line is 'What is essential is invisible to the eye' and as this is true in life, love and our own rollercoaster pursuit of happiness, we can often miss those delightful essentials, sometimes cloaked in grayer hues and unexpected lessons and gurus our lives can deliver to us. Perhaps, for me, some of the book's wisdom is lost in translation - quite literally - but I do appreciate where the author and illustrator tries to transport the reader. I simply cannot say that it worked for me as much as I might have hoped.

If I were able to rate it accurately, I would probably give the book 3 1/2 stars rather than 4, but it doesn't seem fair to downgrade it another 1/2 star on account of a not-so-scientific grading scale. While I appreciate some of the book's poignant observations, it isn't always delivered for me in as pleasurable a read as say, lessons I might find nestled in more serious reads like ANIMAL FARM or BRAVE NEW WORLD, comedic turns in DON QUIXOTE or CATCH-22 or in the much lighter yet still insightful voices of Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.

As I tackle as many of the 78 books I have not read or totally finished of the 100 Great American Read list, I will aim to go in with as open a mind as possible and try to let go of unfair expectations. To others who haven't read this classic, I say read it. Go on. Read THE LITTLE PRINCE for its pop cultural place in literature, for its sentimental connection it has made with so many readers of all ages and for its value in future episodes of "Jeopardy." Any book with fewer than 100 pages that leaves that much of a thumbprint and makes so many people's Top Book lists - that's at least worth a weekend's perusal. Go for it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 27, 2018 – Started Reading
May 29, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 31, 2018 – Shelved
May 31, 2018 – Shelved as: summerreadchallenge-2018

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