My first, and only preceding experience, with reading “The Little Prince” was when I was 5, I believe. It was read to me before bedtime, when I was extremely tired and focused on the calming quality of my mom’s voice as opposed to what was actually being read to me. As I result I had no idea what was going on, and the parts that I did hear seemed to me too adult and incomprehensible.
Having read this now, at the age of 18, I found that last statement ironic. There is nothing of the sort in this book. In fact, it is one of the purest, most adorable little things I have ever read. “The Little Prince” falls into the category of books one will either love or hate, without much of a gray area, as it aims to separate the physically older children from those who have mentally “grown-up” and become as odd as the prince described throughout the book. It’s not a story that will make sense – in fact, one of the girls in my class, when she caught me reading it, chuckled and mentioned how she reread it this past summer and wondered what kind of acid trip Exupery had taken when writing it. Acid trip of not, that is irrelevant. The bizarreness of the story only adds to the charm, and you cannot help but love the collection of tiny, precious thoughts that litter the novella’s pages, to say nothing of the charming illustrations.
I would love to one day read analysis and interpretations of what Exupery was addressing specifically in some places, or his use of characters and imagery, if there was any conscious decision to that. I enjoyed the book despite all those things however, as it caused me to think about myself and whether I’ve truly “grown-up” or not. I was reminded of the things I loved as a kid and what I feared of becoming. “The Little Prince” is a vital reminder of both of those aspects of each person’s life. Some will readily refresh their memories and listen to their childhood voices, while some will attempt to lock them back in the subconscious realm in the risk of becoming very strange indeed.