Friday, 2 September 2016

Book Review - The Return of the Young Prince

When I was asked by Cailin at OneWorld Publications if I wanted to review this, I was a little hesitant to say yes. I had two reasons for this. The first is the real shocker - I have never read The Little Prince. Never. It just has past me by. I know it's a huge deal for some/most of you and it's HUGE in France. It's huge worldwide - there's been a movie recently released about it.

The second was that this is a sequel written for an adult audience. Very different from The Little Prince. How would that work? And would it work as both a sequel and as a standalone?

Once upon a time, a Little Prince lived on a faraway planet, no bigger than himself. And even little princes grow up. One day, he leaves his planet, exploring the universe... Only to be discovered in the middle of a road by our narrator. This is the story of their meeting and their journey together...

Like I have said previously, I have never read The Little Prince so I can't tell you if this is a worthy sequel. What I can tell you is if this is a good story in its own right.

And up to a point, it is. There is something about this story that feels like a fable. There was something charming about this story.

However, there were problems and yes, I am taking issue with one of these, but that is a later paragraph so bear with.

While I was reading this, there were times when the story's message, themes and its morals were treated very heavy handed. With fables, they should be gentle. The reader should discover these morals and themes themselves, not have them forced down their throats.

What annoyed me the most about this story was religion. From what I understand, The Little Prince is a story about a young prince discovering himself in the universe. Discovering what it means to be a good human being. Not once, to my research, was religion bought up. So why, oh why, was God reference? Why did our narrator and the Young Prince talk about God? It felt so out of place within the story and made me question it. Is the book saying that to be a good person, you must believe in God? If you worship any religion that wasn't Christianity (Islam, Buddhism, Sikh, Hindu to name a few), you aren't a good person? What if you are an atheist, can you still be a good person?

I admit I read quite deeply into this. I am not ashamed to say it, but it annoyed me. We live in a world filled of people who worship different faiths and people who don't believe in religion. We live in a world where tolerance is important. Where kindness is important. Where love is important. So to have a story that teach these morals and then throws in God and spiritual enlightenment, it felt a bit like a slap.

While I did like it, I feel like this has more cons than pros for me. But like I said, I am reading this as something separate as I haven't read The Little Prince so I can't say if these two work side-by-side. As a standalone for me, this isn't my cup of tea. But I'm glad I did try to read it and try something new.

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