Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince was actually introduced to me by James Dean. It sounds strange, I know, but its true. Years ago, I went through a bit of a James Dean obsession phase. - And it was mentioned, more then once, how he loved this story, and insisted upon reading it to most of his friends. Etched on a sculpture by his memorial tomb is his favorite quote, from this book, "What is essential is invisible to the eyes." Based on this heavy recommendation I had to read it for myself.  If you haven't read this book, let it be James Dean's praise of it, and not mine, that truly motivates you. - It's more fun that way.

Though I was predisposed to love this book, long before I read it, I found it really was/is a masterpiece. Written for children yet laced with philosophical profoundness for sages. I have personally bought five copies of the book, and I periodically give them out to inspire the particularly enlightened.

Saint-Exupery takes the subject of love with all its complexities, and he concisely explains it to a child. "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important." "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..." "If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers..." He further awakens the reader to the sad reality that adults tend to forget what is actually important, and become buried in superciliousness.

It is no wonder over 80 million copies of the book have been sold in over 180 languages. Yet, it still amazes me to see how The Little Prince has become such a culture-craze. Quotes, from this book, can be found anywhere from jewelry to tattoos. Artist's depictions of many of the book's scenes are constantly being drawn. People of all backgrounds seem to be very touched by the universal truths found in this beautiful story about a Little Prince's love for his rose.

Copies of this book are available for purchase here: Chapters

Post Review Notes:

Since writing the above review, I have read some very conflicting reviews on GoodReads, though by far the majority still do love it, I would like to state my thoughts on some of the objections raised.

Obviously I loved this book. It spoke to me (and 80 million+ others), and is the kind of philosophical book I enjoy. Certainly I appreciate that not everyone enjoys that type of story. And quite often when a book is so overwhelmingly loved it is met with an equally passionate wall of hate.

However, I think as far as the accusation of it " trying too hard to be profound..." goes, the year it was published should be taken into consideration. And I would like to explain why I feel this way. Today, we may have thousands of books that are packed with profoundness, but this book was the grandfather of those, published in 1943, right in the middle of world war II. There was not much like it at the time.

Pointed statements were made about racism/xenophobia, the fallibility of leaders, the lack of humanity in the commercial world, and in general the foolishness of the human condition. Granted it does have a depressing tone which reflects the author's disillusionment and perhaps bitterness with his own life. Nevertheless, it was a powerful message at a time when the world was falling apart at the seams, and I believe it deserves some respect for that alone.

In the end, at the heart of this story, the message is fairly simple: all the distractions and garbage in the world mean nothing... Love is what gives life importance. - And I think that's a message worth sharing.


  1. This is an excellent review of a Classic Novel. It maybe small, but it contains so much wisdom!

  2. I remember reading "NIGHT FLIGHT" [Vol de Nuit] in school for a French in my much younger days. This story I think had been written from his experices as a pilot years before.