Le Petit Prince, or The Little Prince (I read it in French), was a huge success when it was first published. Most children have heard of it, and we’re all acquainted with its famous watercolor paintings: the head of bright yellow hair, the small bumpy planet, and mostly, the rose. So naturally, I was extremely excited to read it. But the words on the big, white pages exceeded my expectations.
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the story of a boy, the little prince, who falls from a series of planets to the middle of the Sahara. There he finds Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who just had a plane crash. The little prince relates his adventures, from the birth of his rose to the switcher’s planet. (He traveled to many different planets, and the switcher’s planet was the last one.) But the prince has to go back to his own planet (to save his rose), leaving a mourning Antoine in the desert.
When I asked my father whether he liked Le Petit Prince or not, he said, “Not really. It was just too strange,” which was true. The stories were bizarre enough, like that of the vain person, who thought that all other people were admirers. However, for me it wasn’t a shocking strangeness. It was a soft strangeness. It was like the feeling I get when I close my eyes and sit on a branch of a tree I have never seen before. If you haven’t ever done that, try it. You will fall in love with that tree.
This story was also a love story. I don’t mean the kind of Romeo-and-Juliet love story, but a child’s love story. This particular one tells of the love between the little prince and a rose. It isn’t so much of a passionate love as it is a longing one.
I think everyone has the soft strangeness of the little prince in their heads and hearts. Small events to us are big events to him, and vice versa. Like when I wondered why I cared so much about Halloween, or why adults mind so much about what the journalist on TV says. I think that the spirit of the little prince never leaves us no matter how old we get.
I can’t guarantee that you will adore this book. Some people will love it, others will like it, some people will hate it, and others will be just plain confused. However, I encourage you to try it. Le Petit Prince is a mix of strangeness and sweetness, and this gives it a unique, magical aura.
You can buy the book here.