Dandelion Wine is a semi-autobiographical novel by Ray Bradbury, which can be best described as a meditation on his childhood years, growing up in Illinois. It is a charming little book, written in a very descriptive and highly poetic style, and really it is a collection of the thoughts and musings of a young 12-year-old boy, Douglas, who has finally realised what is means to be alive, and his brother, Tom.
The story is presented as a series of snippets on daily town life: bringing the swing out to sit on the porch on summer evenings; treats of ice cream, melting in the heat; a dark ravine where the Lonely One murders the town women; the elderly telling stories of their youth; childhood friendships being torn apart when one is forced to move; catching fireflies to read under the covers; making dandelion wine to capture the taste of summer.
It captures the world through the eyes of a boy; life, death, friendships and the magic of a long summer that seems to go on forever. I’ve heard it described as finding a shoebox filled with old photos, each creating a special moment frozen in time. It has some very special moments and I found myself frequently smiling as I read. There is also a lot of truth in this novel.