Saturday, January 26, 2013
Feature and Follow - The Last Great Overnight Book
Welcome to the weekly F&F meme. This week's question: What was the last book that kept you up late just to finish it?
My answer lines up nicely with Abebooks.com current feature of the top 50 science fiction books of all time - I stayed up to finish Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Although it is an excellent book I am a bit confused as to why it is classified as science fiction. Sure Bradbury wrote primarily sci-fi but Dandelion Wine is primarily a romp through an idyllic (and sometimes not so idyllic) summer in the 1920s through the eyes of a late pre-teen boy.
It does have some fantastic parts but, to me, they sounded exactly like the stories of an intelligent and creative boy. Like when he "turns out all the lights of summer" from the cupola in his grandfather's house. I can remember many a night as a young child where I imagined I had the power and was "causing" the lights in the neighborhood to flick off one by one.
The book also shows very clearly the culture and mores of the time, a simpler time one might say, but the complexity and depth did not escape Bradbury's small protagonist. Finally, the book is about growing up. The boy at the end realizes that his childhood is ending and some of the wonder and fantasy will no longer exist. This does have its advantages but I, at least, was left with a definite sense of loss at the end of the book. A sadness that growing up means losing some of that wonder.
What do you think? Drop me a comment, please!