Dandelion Wine is one of my favorite books, but Farewell Summer is not. One is well written about boys, the other could have easily been written by a boy.
This is Bradbury's followup to Dandelion Wine
which I read several years ago and enjoyed a lot. This was a really quick read that I was able to finish in one sitting and it too was an enjoyable romp into Bradbury's insights into age, time, life, and death. The title "Farewell Summer", seems to be a metaphor for the approaching end of life and moving into middle and old age. The story revolves around 13-year old, Douglas Spaulding who with his friends are seeking ways youth can be preserved. To do this, they wage a "war" against the elder people in the town, primarily against Mr. Quartermain, who is on the school board and who Doug and his friends blame for shorter vacations and longer school hours. The boys come up with several ways they think can stop the elders from controlling them including fasting, stealing their chess pieces that they think are used to control each boy's actions, stopping the clock in the town hall, etc. But in the end, they find that it is better to learn from the elders and appreciate all they have been through. This is especially true for Doug's grandfather who lives across the road and gives him good advice to cope with life. Overall, the story is very nostalgic and in many ways reminded me of my youth growing up in the 1950's.
In the Afterword to the novel, Bradbury says that this was begun about 55 years earlier and was originally intended to be part of Dandelion Wine
but the publishers felt it would make Wine too long. He also tells of how he always liked to talk to older people and how much he learned from them including his grandparents. As always, Bradbury's masterful writing makes this another in his long list of stories and novels that will be considered classics for years to come.
Have you read Dandelion Wine? This is the sequel. A metaphor for the Civil War? Well maybe, but, as with most of his books, it is replete with lame, arcane metaphorsdespite the glowing, paid endorsements of the critics for major newspapers. Why do I still read this guy?
Haven't read this yet--somehow ended up with 2 copies and I'm posting the second one. But it's the long awaited sequel to DANDELION WINE, so I know it will be great.
Here's the blurb---
In a summer that refuses to end, in the deceiving warmth of earliest October, civil war has come to Green Town, Illinois. It is the age-old conflict: the young against the elderly, for control of the clock that ticks their lives ever forward. The first cap-pistol shot heard 'round the town is dead accurate, felling an old man in his tracks, compelling town elder and school board despot Mr. Calvin C. Quartermain to marshal his graying forces and declare total war on the assassin, thirteen-year-old Douglas Spaulding, and his downy-cheeked cohorts. Doug and his cronies, however, are most worthy adversaries who should not be underestimated, as they plan and execute daring campaigns; matching old Quartermain's experience and cunning with their youthful enthusiasm and devil-may-care determination to hold on forever to childhood's summer. Yet time must ultimately be the victor, with valuable revelations for those on both sides of the conflict. And life waits in ambush to assail Doug Spaulding with its powerful mysteries; the irresistible ascent of manhood, the sweet surrender to a first kiss . . .
One of the most acclaimed and beloved of American storytellers, Ray Bradbury has come home, revisiting the verdant landscape of one of his most adored works, Dandelion Wine. More than fifty years in the making, the long-awaited sequel, Farewell Summer, is a treasure; beautiful, poignant, wistful, hilarious, sad, evocative, profound, and unforgettable . . . and proof positive that the flame of wonder still burns brightly within the irrepressible imagination of the incomparable Bradbury.