Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (1957) I put this book on my reading list every summer because for as long as I can remember I get it out every spring with intention to reread it. I have, in the past, several times, but in recent years I've just been continuing where left off from the previous year. It's about a small, Midwestern town in the summer, told mostly from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy. I've read that it's based a lot on Ray Bradbury's childhood—it takes place in the summer of 1928, but it's pretty timeless. On one hand it's pure nostalgia, but it's a lot more than that. I really feel like it gets at what is magical and unexplained in the world, and so I keep finding new stuff in it, every time I read it. It also touches on a lot of tragedy and sadness. It's about death as much as anything. I think I first read it for my freshman high school English class, and Mr. Kimball was a little frustrated that people didn't get it, but I felt like I did—that's when I first fell in love with Dandelion Wine. I think it's a pretty adult book, though, ultimately. More than a proper novel, it's actually a collection of related short stories (many have been published alone, in magazines), but it can be read as a novel, or you can skip around. This one chapter really struck me this time—interesting, because I used to think it was pretty corny. It's about this newspaper reporter who sees a photograph of a beautiful woman in the paper, so he looks her up, and it turns out that she only let one photo of her ever be published, taken when she was young, and now she is 95. He tells her that, and oddly, she had some similar strange connection to him, and they begin meeting up and become friends, for a short time, anyway, until she dies. The odd thing is, when I first read this, I think I read it more from the perspective of the 12 year old (who is friends with the reporter) and thought it was merely kind of interesting. Later, I read it more from the perspective of the reporter, and thought it was a little sentimental and corny. Now, however, I'm reading it more from the perspective of the old woman, and this time it really broke my heart. I stopped there for the summer—but I'll pick it up again next year.