Book Review: Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars.

Dandelion Wine is a collection of short stories set in the fictional Green Town, Illinois over the summer of 1928. The setting is said to based on Bradbury’s own childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois.

I have a collection of short stories by Bradbury, and have enjoyed a few of them so much, I decided to try one of his novels. When I read the introduction to Dandelion Wine, I was sold, and convinced I was about to be plunged into a wonderful nostalgic journey. Unfortunately, the introduction turned out to be one of the best parts.

The novel contains no plot, and too many characters. While some of those characters are well-drawn, others are little more than names on a page that are impossible to relate to. So if the book is neither plot-driven, or character-driven, what is it?

Dandelion Wine could be described as nostalgia-driven, which is something I would have expected to enjoy, as I like nothing more than wallowing in memories of the past from time-to-time. However, Bradbury’s writing is so sickly sweet and overflowing, it left me feeling as though I were trying to swallow a gigantic cloying chocolate brownie that wouldn’t go down.

I really wanted to like this novel, and while there were a few good stories, sadly it was not for me. I persevered to the end, to see if there were any connecting threads besides the time, place, and a handful of recurring characters, but I didn’t detect any. The final chapter wrapped up the collection very well, but I was left disappointed.

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