this is the 98th in my series of seldom read or forgotten books
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, © 1957, this edition: Knopf, 1975 hardcover with new forward by the author, – semi-fictional autobiography with elements of fantasy
In the late 1970s and through the early 1990s, every few years, in April or May, when the first waves of Spring were recently passed but the full heat of Summer was ahead, a time when getting outdoors was something you looked forward to every morning. The sun warms but doesn’t yet burn, the smell of early roses and mown grass lingers in the air in a special way. At that time I would read this book.
It’s a book I’ve loved since I first read it in about 1962. I hadn’t had it off the shelf in a decade, and it was time. As you can see from the book info above, I have the 1974 reissue with a new introduction by Bradbury. I bought it after wearing out my original paperback edition.
Before I’d finished Bradbury’s introduction, I was relaxing into the chair and feeling an eagerness to dive into the magic on the pages to come.
The book is difficult for me to label, as you can see from the identity I put on it in the book information above. Bradbury grew up in a small town very like the one in the book, and he has said much of what’s here is from his memories of that.
Douglas Spaulding is ten years old, lives in Green River Iowa, in a house with his parent and grandparents. The school year has just ended and summer, with all it’s rituals such as hanging the porch swing and the first mowing of the lawn lie ahead. The heavy leather winter shoes cling to Douglas’ feet, the trees, ravine, soda fountain and hundreds of other things beckon him and his friends. This book is about Summer, childhood, small town life, ritual, love, fear, food and time. I have favorite scenes but every reader will have their own.
One of them, when Douglas goes into the shoe store to try convincing the store owner to let him have the new tennis in exchange for work, is such a favorite that I choose it to read aloud to my college junior year speech class.
This is a wonderful, wonderful book, and as always I enjoyed it heck out of it. This time through, perhaps my favorite part was Aunt Rose “straightening out” Grandma’s kitchen. If you haven’t read Dandelion Wine, or if it’s been a while, maybe this would be a good time.
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The rest of the Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinaise