- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Itwas a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.
Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple. Now . . .
"Boy," whispered Douglas.
A whole summer ahead to cross off the calendar, day by day. Like the goddess Siva in the travel books, he saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches, and midnight plums. He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers. He would freeze, gladly, in the hoarfrosted icehouse door. He would bake, happily, with ten thousand chickens, in Grandma's kitchen.
But now-a familiar task awaited him.
One night each week he was allowed to leave his father, his mother, and his younger brother Tom asleep in their small house next door and run here, up the dark spiral stairs to his grandparents' cupola, and in this sorcerer's tower sleep with thunders and visions, to wake before the crystal jingle of milk bottles and perform his ritual magic.He stood at the open window in the dark, took a deep breath and exhaled.
The street lights, likecandles on a black cake, went out. He exhaled again and again and the stars began to vanish.
Douglas smiled. He pointed a finger.
There, and there. Now over here, and here . . .
Yellow squares were cut in the dim morning earth as house lights winked slowly on. A sprinkle of windows came suddenly alight miles off in dawn country.
"Everyone yawn. Everyone up."
The great house stirred below.
"Grandpa, get your teeth from the water glass!" He waited a decent interval. "Grandma and Great-grandma, fry hot cakes!"
The warm scent of fried batter rose in the drafty halls to stir the boarders, the aunts, the uncles, the visiting cousins, in their rooms.
"Street where all the Old People live, wake up! Miss Helen Loomis, Colonel Freeleigh, Miss Bentley! Cough, get up, take pills, move around! Mr. Jonas, hitch up your horse, get your junk wagon out and around!"
The bleak mansions across the town ravine opened baleful dragon eyes. Soon, in the morning avenues below, two old women would glide their electric Green Machine, waving at all the dogs. "Mr. Tridden, run to the carbarn!" Soon, scattering hot blue sparks above it, the town trolley would sail the rivering brick streets.
"Ready John Huff, Charlie Woodman?" whispered Douglas to the Street of Children. "Ready!" to baseballssponged deep in wet lawns, to rope swings hung empty in trees.
"Mom, Dad, Tom, wake up."
Clock alarms tinkled faintly. The courthouse clock boomed. Birds leaped from trees like a net thrown by his hand, singing. Douglas, conducting an orchestra, pointed to the eastern sky.
The sun began to rise.
He folded his arms and smiled a magician's smile. Yes, sir, he thought, everyone jumps, everyone runs when I yell. It'll be a fine season.
He gave the town a last snap of his fingers.
Doors slammed open; people stepped out.
Summer 1928 began.
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding arises on an early June morning in a small bedroom in the cupola of his grandparents' house. As Douglas looks out the window, the small town of Green Town, Illinois awakens, and Doug is filled with the joy of being alive. And so begins the summer of 1928 as re-imagined by Ray Bradbury in his novel Dandelion Wine, a rich, evocative tale of a summer long past and its memories, joys, and frustrations.
The central metaphor of the novel is the creation of Dandelion Wine, which becomes a distillation of the summer's days and may be reopened and revisited during the bleak winter months to come.
Throughout the summer, Douglas and his brother, Tom, also record, in a notepad, specific incidents and lessons learned. One of the first lessons Douglas learns is that adults and children are different species. The brothers also come to the conclusion that old people were never children.
But while the summer seems idyllic, darker things, such as change and death, lurk in the background. Douglas is exposed to these through a series of events that include the loss of best friend (who moves away) and the death of his great-grandmother. The ravine and a serial killer called the "Lonely One" are embodiments of the fear of death and change.
As a result of these events, Douglas falls into a fever, but is saved by the town's junk man, Mr. Jonas, who gives the boy two bottles of pure winter air, which break the fever. When Doug and Tom see new school supplies displayed in the dime store window, they realize that summer is coming to an end.
Questions for Discussion
1. In hisdescription of the making of Dandelion Wine, Bradbury describes the significance of what is bottled and how a bottle of wine preserves a certain summer day for the bleak winter months (pp. 13-16). How is the metaphor of Dandelion Wine the central metaphor to the story Bradbury tells? What is Bradbury saying about memory and its importance in the make-up of any given person?
2. Leo Auffman, an inventor, attempts to build a "happiness machine." His wife is skeptical and thinks the whole idea is misguided. Why does she feel this way? After the machine is built and Leo's son and wife go inside (p. 67) why are they so unhappy? What, ultimately, does the machine do to people and why does it fail so miserably? How does this incident tie in with other scenes of the novel where Bradbury reflects on what happiness truly is?
3. What is the significance of the ravine to the story? In what way does the ravine reflect the untamed or uncivilized side of life?
4. Several young girls convince Mrs. Bentley to deny her past and that she was ever a child. Later, Mrs. Bentley recalls a discussion with her late husband, in which he argued that a person can only be the person he or she is at the present moment and all of the past is another person [p. 82]. Upon reflection, Mrs. Bentley decides to give all of her things away to the girls. Is Mrs. Bentley right in denying she had a past? Is Bradbury's entire novel essentially a refutation of Mr. and Mrs. Bentley's position?
5. Throughout the novel, Douglas and his younger brother, Tom, keep a written record of what they learn and discover during the summer. Does this accounting reflect what they actually learn? Why or why not?
6. Who is the "Lonely One" and what is his function in the novel? Why is he connected with the ravine? Does Lavinia Nebbs actually kill him in her home [p. 194]? Why do Douglas and his friends refuse to believe that the man Lavinia killed was the "Lonely One?"
7. Douglas falls ill with a fever late in the novel and the doctor is mystified as to his illness. What causes Douglas's illness and how does Jonas, the traveling junk dealer, cure him?
8. At the end of the novel, Bradbury states that Douglas puts an end to the summer of 1928 when he goes to sleep. However, immediately prior to this statement Douglas reflects that he can go stare at the bottles of Dandelion Wine that are dated for each day of the summer until he recalls the day. Does the summer of 1928 truly end? What do you think of Bradbury's evocation of the summer?
Farewell Summer is the sequel to Dandelion Wine. In case you would like to include Dandelion Wine as part of your discussion, as well, here are some questions that address both novels to help you direct your reading group's conversation.
1. The ravine figures largely in both novels, but is treated differently in each. How is the ravine different in each novel? Does it have the same importance in both stories? Are there any similarities between the two novels in the representation of the ravine?
2. Both novels contain a scene in which organization is considered stifling. In Dandelion Wine, the aunt organizes the grandmother's kitchen and the grandmother is no longer able to cook. In Farewell Summer, part of the reason the boys attack the clock at the old courthouse is because the courthouse symbolizes where their lives are recorded and organized. What is Bradbury saying about the power of bureaucracy and organization in these two scenes? Must this power be thrown off completely, or can some accommodation be made with it? Does each novel present the same conclusion about this power?
3. Both novels present a piece of a past boyhood summer. How are the depictions of the past summers different in each novel? Are both depictions nostalgic? Why or why not?
4. How is the character of Douglas different in each of the two novels? How is he the same? What are the reasons for the similarities and differences?
5. Both novels deal with the theme of the fear of death. In Dandelion Wine, the losses with which Douglas deals lead to his fever. In Farewell Summer, this fear leads to war. How is the fear of death "cured" in each novel? How are the cures similar or different? Why do you think Douglas is so preoccupied with death?
Posted November 8, 2012
Incredible. Bradbury captures the feelings of childhood that you had forgotten you had or weren't old enough to appreciate at the time. An amazing book and one that I'm sure to read every couple years.
Posted December 31, 2011
Some of Ray Bradbury's finest writing appears in Somethin Wicked This Way Comes. Atmospheric...and the use of language and imagery.
A book to return to time and time again...particularly in October.
Posted August 3, 2011
Dandelion Wine is one of my favorite books and I read it every summer. I bought this one for my husband to listen to traveling to work. This is a dramatization; an old radio show type format; it is not "unabridged" (only 90 minutes) as stated in the summary, nor is it the original text/book. Very disappointing; the write up is obviously not correct. I have just purchased another one from here - big difference 7 CD's, 8 hours. This makes more sense!! Again, LOVE the story, but this is an entirely different format than stated.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2010
Some books pull you in and don't let you out, until they end and even sometimes after. This book didn't hold you hostage like some, but that doesn't mean it was boring. The writing was very beautiful and vivid. I could see everything; the words were so descriptive. In some ways, it actually did draw me into the world of Dandelion Wine because the writing was so clear, but the exit to reality was always clear.
This book is a coming of age book. The main character, Douglas, is exploring life and if you love or even like books like that, you will enjoy this book. Also if you enjoy books that describe the earlier twentieth century, you would enjoy this book.
This book is almost like a bunch of short stories, but they all tie into the themes of the book, which is accepting life but also death, enjoying the now, living life, and looking to the future. The view flirts back from person to person, but always returns to Douglas; to tell his story.
The lesser characters also help tell this story. They are so individual, but they all teach you the same lessons, or themes, from this book. They are suspecting, wise, thoughtful, charming, foolish, frightened, brave, happy, regretful, hilarious, positive, inventive, hateful, and brilliant. From the inventor Mr. Leo Auffmann and his happiness machine, to wise Mr. Jonas and his "no ordinary junk" wagon, these characters show how much personality a little town can have.
I also enjoyed the symbolism in here, because there were quite a few examples, the dandelion wine, grandma's kitchen, the "colored window panes on the little round windows", the happiness machine, Colonel Freeleigh and even the green machine, are parts of the story, but also more. These "symbols" delve into the reader's imagination and they also invite the reader to look deeper into this charming little world titled Dandelion Wine.
Sadly there are some parts that I didn't like, very few, that were a bit to morbid for me. I didn't enjoy some parts towards the end, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book.
I think you should read this book if: you love books that describe a coming of age, the 1950's roughly,(like I said above,) beautiful writing inspires you, exquisite characters make you laugh, you need to laugh, you enjoy thinking, a book you can put down sounds good write now, wise catch phrases or quotes, (because you can get many from this book,) you have read way to many sad books and you are in a rut because of that, or you need to come to peace with death and living, because this book will help you in all of this.
You shouldn't read this book if: you hate reading, you hate books, you hate paper because it kills trees, you love fantasy, that includes dragons and swords so much that, that is all you can read. Seriously I don't really think a lot of people would hate it, but some might find it a little boring. I definitely don't though. I seriously recommend this book to anyone who is willing to hear my opinion.
Posted February 9, 2010
This book was an absolute disapointment. The book had no plot, no meaning , no true point! Ray Bradbury is a truly amazing writer, and it does show in the story but like i said it had no point or plot. I recommend this book only for refrence on how creative writing should be! I dont recommend to read this book for "fun". If you are truly firmiliar with other works of Bradbury you will truly be let down. The books and short stories like the "Sound of thunder" and " The Martian Chronicals" were the true Bradbury at his best.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2010
This book made me remember what being a kid was like. The innocence, the point of view, everything is just absolutely incredible. How he can describe the way he viewed the world as a child is amazing to me. This book is a true inspiration and lets you look at life as if every moment is something to savor. I ended this book feeling as though I haven't lived life to its fullest and made the most of every day as I did as a child. I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2009
Mr. Bradbury must ponder a lot about life and death. In this novel, he covers every facet of the topic through metaphoric characters and objects. The meaning of "dandelion wine" itself parallels Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" - the ability save a moment so that we might relive it again. Memorable moments in the book include the sadness of retiring the trolley, and the salesman who tries to sell grass that never needs to be cut. It's the smell of cut grass that signifies the "official" start of Summer. A very entertaining, though philosophical, book that will make you see the World a little differently after you've finished it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2008
I first read this book probably when I was 13. I am 20 now and it is still by far one of my favorite books in the world. It is nostalgic of my own childhood and I wish these experiences for anyone. My father and I have read it together, including the sequel, A Farewell Summer which is also phenomenal and have both laughed so hard until we cried. Bradbury described life experiences like no other. He is a truly gifted writer and completely inspiring.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2008
When I started reading Dandelion Wine, I didn't really like it. In fact, I started to regret choosing it, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get through the rest of the book. The style of writing wasn't what I normally read, and I felt like a lot of the descriptions and scenes just dragged on too slowly. I also didn't care about the characters, and this made the stories less intriguing. I was irritated that many of the stories didn't seem to connect with each other. However, once I got further into the book, I enjoyed the stories to a greater extent. Once I read more, I could get more involved with the characters and feel their emotions, whether it was happiness, grief, or anger. I got used to Bradbury's descriptive style, and the action of the stories made reading the book more enjoyable. The more I read, the more I saw that the stories were weaved together, so that even if one story was unrelated to another, they all contributed to the overall theme of the book. Bradbury's stories were thoroughly original, and the characters were all unique and memorable. It was fun to read about happiness machines, time machines, and childhood games. I liked that Bradbury's stories always seemed to have a 'moral' included. His overall message seemed to be that we should enjoy our lives, our families, and the time that we have to be happy. By the time I reached the end of the book, my initial take on Dandelion Wine was completely turned around. I would definitely read this book again, and I would recommend it for others to read as wellWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 27, 2008
This book had many ups and downs for me. The book was very detailed, but at times confusing. This is about a young boy who wants to have an adventourous summer. Ray Bradbury held my intrst in the book by the discriptive sentences he wrote. EX: The bleak mansions across town ravne opened baleful dragon eyes. One of my favorite scence is when a couple of ladies are gossiping about the town killer the lonley one. I like this part becuase it reminds me of little old ladies gossping. I would recomend this book to my friends because I think they would like the discrpitive stenences.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 27, 2008
Reading Dandelion Wine I was very interested. I enjoyed this book because I was able to make a lot of connections and it was alos very suspenseful. I liked this book also because it is the the type of book that I would normally read. The author of Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury did a great job of keeping you interseted throughout the entire book. When the author keeps the entire story suspenseful you want to keep reading. At almost every point in the book that I stopped reading I would have liked to read more. I had a couple of favorite scenes in this novel but my favorite was in the ravine when Lavina Nebbs though she was being followed by the Lonely One. Lavina is walking extremely fast and counting how many steps to her front door. I liked this scene because it was suspenseful. I would recommend this book to a friend, but not all of my friends. This book was very good but I don't think everyone will agree. I would recommend this to a friend because it is both interesting and it leaves you hanging when you stop reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2008
I enjoyed reading the novel, Dandelion Wine. The book was very descriptive and I like imagining what it'd be like to be in the main character's shoes. The descriptions in the book made it very easy for me to picture what is going in my head. This was a positive experience for me because it wasn't that bad of a book. My favorite scene in the book was when Douglas(main character) went to the shoe store and convinced Mr.Sanderson(owner of the store) to give him the shoes. He used bribes and tried as hard as he could to get Mr.Sanderson to at least make a deal with him so he could get those shoes. This really showed that he really wanted those sneakers. Finally, Mr.Sanderson told him that if he helped with stuff around the shop then he could have the sneakers. If I could change this novel I would make the tennis sneakers just regular sneakers. This could help the book because there is probably a lot of readers in the world who don't like tennis and might dislike the book if they saw that the sneakers were tennis sneakers. After reading this novel, I've learned that if I ever needed sneakers then I could just make a deal with someone if I don't have enough money for them. For example, I could ask to help someone out with something and maybe i could help around a shop for someone like Douglas did for Mr.Sanderson in the book. If no one needs help with anything I would just raise my own money instead of begging my parents like Douglas did and get the shoes myself. This would probably catch my parents' eye and they'd b more willing to get stuff for me when I need something in the future.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2007
This book is absolutely amazing!! the imagery is great! This book brought back so many memories. Those who don't understand this book or dont like it, probly didn't open up thier imagination. I highly recommend This book, Dandelion Wine.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2007
The style of writing in this book is so perfect. I can understand how some people wouldn't like it because it switches to different stories in almost every chapter but that's what makes it so enjoyable. I loved the characters. For me it was kind of hard to get into it but about one third of the way through I started really enjoying it. Everything is detailed in such a unique way. I love Ray Bradbury books but I would recommend this to adults mostly or people who want to relive childhood innocence.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2007
When I read this book, I became lost and confused because of the plot. There wasn't one! The title dandelion wine doesn't even make sense. I guess an older reader may understand it better, but compared with some other reviews, most of us are in agreement.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2007
This is one of my all time favorite books. It truly captures what it is to be 12 in the summertime..The description of Douglas when he buys his tennis shoes is wonderful. The storyline about the 'Lonely One' is reminiscent of all the urban legends of my youth.. This book is a real classic, but perhaps you must be far removed from youth to appreciate it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2006
Posted June 20, 2006
This book's constantly shifting story and lack of a plot make it a terrible read. Out of about 20 different stories that take place within this book I couldn't find even one that interested me. It didn't help that I read it for a class, and I was constantly forced to analyze the deeper meaning (which alaways seemed to be the same thing).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2005
The frist few pages capture you because of its vivid description. After you get a movie on and the momentum builds up then the full effect starts kicking in. it may take a while to appreciate, but trust me it's worth the hours to read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2005
This book is the one of the greatest I have ever read. With so many intertwining metaphors, it gives you a desire inside your heart to go outside and watch the clouds and enjoy life. Though about the magical summer of 1928 for a boy named Douglas Spaulding, this book has timeless social commentary on the advancement of technology. This book is more like a collection of short stories, all tied together into a product which is breathtaking. I reccomend this book to anyone and everyone looking for a timeless classic, or just a good book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.