Monday, February 6, 2023

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: A Review

💚 Dandelion Wine is Ray Bradbury's remembrance of his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, which he changed to Green Town in this book. It was originally developed from a short story of the same title.

💚 Douglas Spaulding, the twelve years old boy, main character of this story, is Ray Bradbury himself. The story takes place in one summer in 1928. Summer is Douglas' favorite season. During summer holidays Douglas and Tom, his little brother, used to stay at their grandfather's house, and help him preparing bottles of Dandelion wines. In Douglas' view, each bottle contains the essence of every event that had happened during that summer holiday, that he wishes not to forget.

💚 Douglas (or Bradbury) is an imaginative boy, while Tom is the opposite; he's the sensible one. They both take notes of day to day small but memorable events during that summer; happy and sad, terrifying and exciting. Douglas' new tennis shoes, for instance, is an important event in Douglas' summer.

💚 Then there are things which excited their summer, but also made them contemplating about life. The Happy Machine, Colonel Freeley's 'time machine', and their last ride on the green trolley, are some of these. There are also Misses Fern and Roberta's Green Machine, the Buffalo dust and Ching Ling Soo, the Tarot Witch at the amusement park, and of course, the Lonely One! But maybe, the one that touched Douglas most during that summer, is when his best friend John Huff moved out from the town.

Though this story has been modeled as a novel, I think it would be more fun to read it as short story collection. It still lacks a little cohesiveness to become a whole novel, because there is no plot. Nevertheless, all stories made us reflect about happiness in the past, and what matters most. There are those who tries hard to preserve and live in the past, such as Mrs. Bentley, who keeps bric-a-brac from her past. But there are also people like Douglas' grandfather who believes:

"Once a time was over, it was done. You were always in the present."

💚 Maybe the best way is to keep happy memories, like Douglas' summers in bottles of Dandelion wine; then moved on, and to continue on living in the present - savoring all the little things we can, to be preserved then, in the next batch of Dandelion wines. Just like Douglas' grandfather's wisdom:

"When you’re my age, you’ll find out it’s the little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing."

💚 Dandelion Wine is a happy and delightful reading, with its sweet simplicity, its summer vibes, packed with fun adventures, written in a poetic and beautiful style by Ray Bradbury. I loved most of the stories, but two of my favorites are perhaps Douglas' half blind grandma's splendid food only while the kitchen is in topsy-turvy condition; and the kindhearted Mr. Jonas the not-ordinary-junkman who always know what one needs most. I know what I need most... more books that makes one smile like this one, please!

Rating: 4,5 / 5



  1. I love this book, mostly for the writing, but also for the way every page seems to embody summer. I especially love the couple who meet over lime-vanilla ice cream. :D

    1. Ah yes, I almost forgot that story! I was imagining the taste of lime-vanilla ice cream during reading. :))


What do you think?