It’s not quite summertime yet, but this is the perfect time to pull a book like “Dandelion Wine”, a novel that focuses on the joy and exhilaration that kids experience when summer first begins. Originally Ray Bradbury wrote a short story with this title in 1953 for the magazine “Gourmet”. He went on to expand it into a full-length novel in 1957, which became “Dandelion Wine” as we know it. I would like to find the original short story sometime.
Doug is a 12-year-old kid in a small town in Illinois in 1928. He lives with his father and brother, his mother having passed away shortly after giving birth to his brother. The grandparents live next door, and young Doug spends a lot of time with his grandfather. Summer is the time of year for getting new sneakers, putting up the porch swing, earning money by delivering packages around town, listening to the sound of lawn mowers, beating the dust out of rugs, picking grapes, and listening to the stories of the old-timers around town.
A great part in the story was when Grandfather shows Doug his collection of bottles of Dandelion wine. Each one is dated, and Grandfather has a memory to go alone with each bottle. Another amusing part of the story is when the neighbor Leo decides to build a happiness machine to make everything perfect, but ends up making his family miserable in the process.
This book is a blast of nostalgia, a feel-good story that is perfect to read outside in a lawn chair or a swing, or inside on a comfortable couch.