Back at the end of July I went shopping with my friend DeAnna in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina. We visited one of my favorite bookstores named Malaprops. They have an entire wall dedicated to “Blind Date” books. Each novel is wrapped in brown packaging paper and instead of having a title or author written on the front, each book is characterized by adjectives. I picked out a book with the words magical, original, timeless, tender, and the phrase “love letter to childhood” written on the front.
I made a post about my bookstore adventures in August (which you can view right here), asking you all what the title of the book could be. No one guessed the correct title, but a friend of mine did get the author right!
The book is none other than…
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury!
There’s a certain quality about this book that makes me wish I’d read it before heading off to college for my freshman year. Douglas Spaulding, the main character, is a twelve year old boy living in Illinois. And as all twelve year old boys do, he wants the summer to last forever. More importantly, he wants to remember this particular summer for forever. He decides to catalog all the events that occur to him and his brother Tom. He makes a long list of “rituals” and “reflections.”
Everything is starting to change for Douglas. The one electric car the town has is put away in the garage for the last time. The trolley he loves to ride will soon be replaced by buses. His best friend moves away. Summer was supposed to be a time for living and running through tall grass and being happy, but Douglas runs headfirst into a wall of change and doesn’t want to accept it.
This was me my freshman year of college. I loved life because everything was bright and shiny and new, but I was terrified for the exact same reasons.
Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine is a masterpiece of intricately woven, stunningly beautiful phrases. While the story line kept me engaged and interested, the real charm to this work is in the words themselves.