READ IT FIRST: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
In case you haven’t got wind of it, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic, The Little Prince is coming to cinemas this year and judging from the trailers alone, it’s going to prove to be a hard watch, a tearjerker as much as the book. But what was it about The Little Prince that made it an enduring classic?
The first time I read The Little Prince, I sat in a coffee shop beside the bookstore I bought it from. I don’t remember getting up until the last heartbreaking page. Had I not been sitting in a public place I would have cried more. I still cry when rereading it.
To tell you the truth, I don’t buy the idea that “childhood-is-the-Lost-Paradise-that-we-have-to-get-back-to” bullshit (excuse my French). Being a child- that is the truth about it, not the metaphorical/symbolical/romanticized notion of childhood, is to be selfish, confused, impatient and imposing. Nothing good has come out of it, including adolescence and adulthood. In fact the whole of humanity was fucked up the moment of inception (excuse my French, again). It’s stupid to be nostalgic about it.
BUT, sometimes you get books like The Little Prince and you get to think about it all.
The Little Prince is told from a first person narrative, a pilot stranded in the desert island of Sahara, where he met the little Prince who claims he was from another planet. The narrator has taken pains to encourage the reader to suspend his disbelief for just a few pages and promises why this will be good use of one’s “precious time”. Adults are hard clients to please, but so was the prince.
It was said that Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote The Little Prince out of his own frustration with the world. He wrote it while in exile in North America.
I still think it’s bullshit to think that childhood is a glorious era for mankind. But these days, I think it’s us adults who turned it into BS for children everywhere. Perhaps that’s the most heartbreaking thing about The Little Prince, it is us who let him down (and there’s no excuse for that in any language!).