I’d been holding onto this book for quite some time. I’m fond of Bradbury — I enjoyed the Illustrated Man, the Martian Chronicles, and Fahrenheit 451. But it was a 2012 Fringe show (Bookworm, by Corin Raymond) that got me to give him a more careful look, and which prompted me to read Something Wicked this Way comes as one of my Hallowe’en books.
Bradbury is a master of nostalgia. Throughout his works, he conjurs the most wonderful portraits of childhood. But not just of childhood — perhaps his greatest strength is his ability to see the beauty in every stage of life, and its his ability to transmit that appreciation to the reader that sprinkles magic upon his works.
I’ll admit that when I started reading Dandelion Wine, I thought I was a little over it, and even said to myself, “I’m really not in the mood for one of these books right now,” but his mix of innocent adventure combined with an honest acknowledgement of the darker side of life that just pulls you in and has you loving everything around you. When I read these books — and Dandelion Wine in particular — so that they will follow the lead of Bradbury’s little heros, and make the absolute most of their childhoods. So that they might see what this time in their lives can be; so that they might grow up with that little extra wisdom that will let them look at themselves and their lives from a little farther off, and have an idea of how to make the most of it.
Because we see, through his characters, that all of the things we might envy about the lives we see in these novel, are made so by the character’s attitude and point of view, more than anything else. And so any child reading this book is that much more likely to carry such a point of view. It’s something we all have, in whole or in pieces, but Bradbury does us the service of reminding us of how easy it can be, and how valuable.
And so I would push a kid in the direction of one of these books, if I think they might have the attention span for it. Becausee wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to look back on your life, and to be able to read one of these books and smile and nod, and say, “Yes, that’s the way; that’s the way I did it.”