Back in the day, I used to post multiple full reviews in the same post. I presume that everyone hated it, but then again I had approx 0 followers then so it’s not like there was a huge difference in response rate. 0 – 0 = 0.
But these two aren’t full reviews. They’re little. Like the characters that inspired them! Hahaha. Sometimes my wit impresses even me.
Anyway, both these books are great. Read them both. It is my royal decree.
A LITTLE PRINCESS
Synopsis: Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father gain, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and genorosity are all the riches she truly needs?
This is the first, and (hopefully) the last time I will ever utter such sacrilege: The movie adaptation is better than this book.
Oh, god! I feel awful. What a sin to the book community that was. Please forgive me.
But, alas…it is the truth.
The book, while carrying the charms of a classic children’s book (and y’all know I love classic children’s books), is just a worse story. The characters are weird. Sara Crewe is literally a saint, while in the movie she’s a nice kid, but still a kid. All the adults in this book are villains, while in the movie they get cute storylines and are at least semi-redeemable, for the most part. (Even if the headmistress looks literally exactly like a live action version of the evil stepmother in the original animated Cinderella.) The movie ending is more exciting and fulfilling. There’s a lot more of India in the movie, and it’s portrayed in a better light. (India in the book is pretty much just all non-white people worshiping at Sara’s feet.) The scullery maid, Becky, is black in the movie, which is way sicker than book-Sara’s kindness to white people exclusively.
It’s just better. Maybe I’ll go watch that for the millionth time.
This book, in addition to being inferior to its film incarnation, is also inferior to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s other children’s classic, The Secret Garden.
But it’s still not bad.
Reading about a rich-as-hell seven-year-old who’s both spoiled and super kind doesn’t exactly sound like my idea of a wild Saturday night, but it was actually pretty fun. I don’t know what it is about Burnett, but my girl can write a spoiled little girl character and pull it the hell off. Big ups on that. Not easy baby!!! (I mean, children are rarely likable, and spoiled rich kids are even more difficult to tolerate, no?)
I am still glad I finally read this. It was fun and easy, and it made me feel v nostalgic. And want to rewatch the movie. And reread The Secret Garden.
Also, it’s not the book’s fault that the movie is better. Like, imagine if I climbed into a magic canoe or picked up an enchanted twig or tripped over a black hole and ended up in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s office or whatever in 1905, and I was all, “Hey, Fran, you know those really weird moving pictures coming out of France right now? The ones that are super short and look like someone beat them with a rubber mallet before showing ’em? Well, in 90 years – a mythical time known as the 1990s – they’re going to be in color and like, extremely long. Too long, maybe. Anyway, one of them is going to be using the story of your book – no, they’re allowed to do it – and movie-Sara is a hotel heiress, and their version of your story is just generally a lot more exciting. So maybe amp it up a tad? Give it a lil of that famous Frances va-va-voom?” She would spit in my face and call the mayor and have me summarily burned at the stake.
Okay, fair, the Salem Witch Trials did not take place in 1905. But I think my modern fashions and cursing habit and exposed collarbone would still overwhelm poor Frances. Especially in combination with my striking good looks.
I seriously need to shut up.
Bottom line: Give this book a try! It’s fast and easy and a good read-in-a-lifetime book, and may make you, too, think way too hard about a very specific time-traveling scenario.
THE LITTLE PRINCE
Synopsis: Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
I. LOVE. THIS BOOK.
It’s amazing, it’s pretty much perfect, it’s in my top five favorite books ever.
That should really be all I have to say to convince you to read it. But in case you need more, I will provide. (No one can say I don’t give, guys.)
First, it’s unbelievably short. If you need more than one sitting to read this book, Something Is Wrong. Or perhaps you are reading it aloud to a newborn who cries a lot, or a very poorly behaved adult, in which case I suppose it’s understandable.
No excuse for children. They should be enchanted from the get-go.
The language is also unbelievably lovely. It’s translated from French, and I recommend reading the original if it’s at all possible for you. Because English will never live up to French and that is just a fact. French is prettier, period. I can’t even say English is utilitarian because it’s twisted and intricate and ridiculous and makes absolutely no sense.
It’s also incredibly profound. There are countless morals and metaphors and meanings to this book (check out that alliteration). I catch something new with each read. There’s so much imagination appreciation in this book. Also star and flower appreciation, and those are two of the things that make life the most worth living. And books of course. And this book IS a book! Three for three! (It misses on another reason to live, which is sweets, but you can’t win them all.)
The author’s name is Antoine de Saint Exupéry, which is one of the cooler names I’ve ever heard. When de Saint Exupéry wrote this, he was a sad and lonely Frenchman in New York, with a vain and beautiful wife whom he loved very much. A lot of really deft analysis of the human experience, including some truly hot takes on American city types. (It’s better than I’m making it sound.)
Most importantly, THIS BOOK IS TOTALLY ALL TRUE. 100% nonfiction, baby.
The narrator of this book is a pilot who crash-lands in the desert, where he meets the little prince. Antoine de Saint Exupéry was presumed dead after his plane (and he) went missing over the ocean. The plane was found, BUT HIS BODY NEVER WAS. The obvious conclusion is that he’s in the stars with the little prince.
This should really be enough for you to read it. It’s lovely, it’s magical, it’s astute. Children’s classics are really the best.
Bottom line: READ IT READ IT READ IT. I’m pouring my heart out here.
Ah, children’s classics. Love that lil niche genre with all that I am.
I hope this post was acceptable. NOW GO READ THESE BOOKS. (Please.)