I’ve realised that I can’t be very good at doing book reviews because I’ve read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and can only say that it was a wonderful book.
Not much of a review?
Well. Let’s try again.
Of all the chapters I remember Chapter Nine the most, because it was heartbreaking. I actually pouted afterward a bit. Leaving his flower behind. It’s strange how the feeling and the idea of love and how much it binds you even if it hurts and frustrates you to the point that you want to run away from it could be so easily captured in so few sentences as the little prince and his rose bidding each other farewell. I particularly loved the flower’s words as he left.
I’ve been silly,” she whispered at last. “Please forgive me. Try to be happy.”
He was surprised by the absence of reproaches. He just stood there, quite bewildered, with the dome poised in mid-air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness.
“Of course, I love you,” the flower said to him. “If you were not aware of it, it was my fault. That is not important. But you have been just as foolish. Try to be happy…
How is it that life works this way? That we only realise how much we need and love someone until they go away. I guess what is important is that like the flower one at least lets them know. If we all were as honest as this before the fact, we might avoid less heartache.
Otherwise, I don’t understand why people think the book is, “really deep and philosophical.’ The exact words of the woman at the Logos Hope boat book fair who was ahead of me in the very long cashier’s line when she saw me reading it.
For me, The Little Prince was just truth and in some instances logic. I doubt I could recognise a drawing of an elephant from the outside or the inside but I have never understood grownups, when I was a child and now as an adult. And yet, at the same time I do understand them, if that makes sense. It is strange but we are strange in what we do and why.
I understand now why they placed the story in the setting that they did in the movie, although I’ve never seen the movie, only previews. Did the directors and screen writers think if they simply told the story of the little prince as it was without the added characters people wouldn’t get it? Maybe. Maybe they were trying to make the philosophy relatable but you know… I think the book speaks for itself the way it is.
The beauty I guess is in the frank simplicity of it. A drunkard drinking to forget that he is ashamed of being a drunkard shows precisely the dangerous addictive cycle of substance abuse.
A geographer waiting for explorers to come his way so he can write down their findings but never considering to be an explorer himself. And the business man, busy counting stars! Don’t even get me started.
It reminded of a conversation I had with a coworker, far too many times frankly. He doesn’t seem to get what I’m saying but then, as the little prince puts it, he’s an adult and adults are strange. While he does what he can to climb the ladder of seniority in the company and is constantly up for achieving another pay grade I do what I am paid to do and go home. I am not bothered with anything else.
He always remarks on my ‘brilliance’ when I help him and keeps pushing me to be on projects with him, telling me I’ll be rewarded if I do as much as I can.
“Don’t worry, if you do the work, you’ll get promoted. You’ll get a raise,” he says.
He does not believe that I simply do not care for it. It is unfathomable to him! Why wouldn’t I? But then, why would I? Maybe it’s because I have so many other activities outside of my day job to care about, that part of me wants to keep this work simple so it’s easier to peel myself away from it every evening, but then it isn’t always that either.
His process makes no sense to me.
Should I wish to have a higher position, like him I will have to go back to school because despite my ‘brilliance’ and ability to get the job done the company will only promote candidates with the proper qualifications. It’s their policy. I’ve done higher education. It was the single most stressful four years of my life. While I was studying I was working days and sometimes nights at that time to pay for school as well (because heck I was brilliant, I could do it!), so you can imagine.
Basically what my coworker is saying is that I should go back to school, immerse myself in a stressful environment and the reward is to come back to work and qualify for a position… that will immerse me into another stressful environment? And increased pay is supposed to suffice for this?
I don’t know, maybe he’s one of those inbred corporate types who thrive off of the daily burgeoning instability of their mental health, but still, what exactly is the outcome here? Because it feels like going in circles. Self-induced madness!
It makes me agree wholeheartedly with the little prince
Men,” said the little prince, “crowd into express trains without knowing what they are looking for. So they become agitated and rush round in circles…” After a pause, he added: “It is not worth the trouble…
It is not worth the trouble. I rest my case. Now I am sure there are many arguments about hard work and success that can counter this but frankly, there is only one thing that interests me about stress.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a diligent worker. I am a helper. Like the little prince I sweep my volcanoes and pull out baobab’s and do what needs to be done to take care of my tiny piece of the universe. And truthfully, there is inherently a little stress in everything but a lot of it is very, very unnecessary.
My endeavours at anytime must be of some use to me, and me of some use to my work, despite my need to pay my bills. It must be as the little prince put to the business man counting and recounting his stars, “an exercise of real importance’ and fulfilling (outside of monetary gain) at the end of the road.
There are some people who genuinely cannot afford to think like that and because I am an adult I know this! But some of us, most of us, are unnecessarily busy with things that make no sense and do not advance our happiness. If you are going to be ‘too busy’, at least be too busy being happy.
The best thing that I learned from this little prince aka Antoine that I had not known before, was that of the fox. Don’t think because I left it for last or because I am spending so little time on it that it didn’t strike me.
I never thought of relationships like this before, liked being tamed. Finding yourself like a wild animal that is now less frightened and more open in the presence of someone who you deem important, to you. Because the two of you have established a bond, and need each other. That’s exactly what it is!
Epiphany of the year! Yes, yes, the book came out in 1943. I’m late! Call it philosophy or call it life! Maybe it’s a little of both. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry gets me, and I get his Little Prince.
On a side note, to the left of this page above my growing NaNoWriMo badges I will now be showing what I’m reading, or was reading, at any point in time. Feel free to join me!
– Written by Travesaou
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