I first read The Little Prince at 7, and when I was through I wept with such unbridled, full-throated abandon that my mother speaks of the incident to this day. When I reread it last week in preparation for tonight's opening of the Rachel Portman opera, the book turned out to be twee, smug and sentimental. Who knew?
Not until last night did it occur to me that the problem lay not in the text, but in the reader. Just as Saint-Exupéry had predicted, I've lost the ability to appreciate his little fable. I've become that most benighted of beings, a grownup. How sad.
On the other hand, I can drink scotch now. On balance, I think I got the better end of that bargain.