The Little Prince Book Review
The Little Prince is a 1943 novella written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It is one of the most well regarded French novels and it is considered a classic for many good reasons.
I really liked the plot here. This is the perfect example of a story that is simplistic on the surface, but actually incredibly sophisticated and meaningful. This book is also a great example of a work that is wonderful for everyone. It is a children’s book, but it is just entertaining and sweet for them and they can’t possibly understand some of its bigger themes which is why it is great for adults too. And although very short, it is incredibly rewarding and for the most part a fascinating read.
Let’s talk about the story and its characters through each and every plot point. It starts with that famous drawing and the interpretation of it. First of all, I remember reading this as a kid and never being able to understand its message and now that I do, I just found this beginning to be amazing. Secondly, I just adored the use of drawings in the book. The Little Prince has a great many illustrations which are done in water color technique and all of them are wonderful to witness and they accompany and enrich the story in a great way.
As I said before, I loved the beginning of the book and it is easily my favorite part here. That is because it contains so many smart and observant quotes in it. The whole novella is incredibly quotable and sophisticated, but my favorite quote has to be this one – “Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.” I just found that observation so truthful and sadly so that I instantly connected with it. And the fact that he mentions that adults mostly only care for sports and politics is also sadly correct and so relatable to me. This is clearly a book written by an adult who laments about his childhood and I relate to that as I myself share his problem and that is why The Little Prince was perfect for me.
Then we have that scene in the Sahara desert where the narrator meets the little prince. The description of the title character is excellent and he remains such a wonderfully mysterious, endearing figure throughout the whole book. And it is interesting that de Saint-Exupery had crashed on the desert himself, thus its inclusion here. I loved the details of the prince’s home planet which is basically an asteroid and his care for plants. All of those things are so far from scientific truth, but it didn’t bother me as this clearly isn’t a science fiction work, but rather a fantasy one.
I’ve had the problem with the next segment. The prince visits six asteroids and on each of them lives a foolish, narrow-minded adult and all of them puzzle our hero. Now I absolutely understand its point and it is once again an attack on adults and their various personality flaws, but this whole segment is overly prolonged and just too repetitive in nature. It could have been done with three asteroids instead of six as that number is way too high.
I loved everything with the rose and the fox. The rose is such a beautiful metaphor for a love partner whereas a fox is a great metaphor for pets and basically friends. “Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” That is another powerful and clever quote that I loved. And I just loved the use of the rose in the narrative as well as the fox.
As for the ending, it is another of the two sections that I did not love as much as the rest of the book. It is poignant and somewhat satisfying, but it is still never as memorable or as clever as the rest of the book is and that just disappointed me. I expected so much more from it.
But overall, I loved The Little Prince. Its writing is absolutely fantastic and you can easily see that the writer was such a perfectionist as this work is so wonderfully written and always interesting. The pacing of the plot is great, almost all of the parts are phenomenal and its themes are just magnificent. This is one of the smartest and most relatable books that I’ve read and the fact that it was written for children is even more admirable.
There are various themes here. The one about taming is one of the best explored here, but its take on adults is the reason why this is such a classic. It perfectly showcases everything that is wrong with adulthood through many powerful quotes and it was incredibly relatable to me as I myself wondered about these things many times before. As for the plot, it seemed a bit simplistic and childish to me at first, but I really loved it eventually as it is filled with many sweet little details and is just so memorable and poetic in quality. The whole book is filled with that poignant and poetic feel to it that it really leaves a lasting impression. For all of those reasons, it really is a classic and although too flawed to me, I still found it to be a great novel.
The Little Prince does have its somewhat problematic sections, but it is for the most part a fantastic book filled with so many observant and relatable quotes, wonderful themes, a smart and sophisticated storyline and great drawings. It also has a poetic and moving feel to it and it’s just such a powerful, deep work.
My Rating – 4.2