Ray Bradbury Book Review

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As he’s indisputably one of American literature’s greatest authors, Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 is naturally high school required reading. After finishing the novel in my ninth grade English class, I knew I’d eventually have to read some more of Bradbury’s work—he was fantastic. Now, a year later, Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles are two of my favorite novels.

Dandelion Wine is a collection of short stories—part fiction and part memoir—reminiscent of Bradbury’s childhood in a small midwestern town during the late 1920’s. It’s about bottling memories, about the innocent prides and challenges and wonders of growing up. The setting has such a familiar feel; although the novel takes place in an age nearly a century ago, I understand what Bradbury is writing about when he talks of open windows and the sound of your neighbors mowing their grass and about the way one can walk down a small-town sidewalk and recognize the faces that pass. Dandelion Wine is poignant, written from humid summer air, and worth the read.

The Martian Chronicles is also composed of short stories, chronologically making their way through the timeline of humans and their interactions on the Red Planet—from the first shuttle and Martian encounters to the story of the last man alive. In between, short stories are riddled with accounts of religion and sin, humility and exploration, morality and curiosity, all wrapped up into a stunning science fiction. The Martian Chronicles is a collection I can pick up and reread and reread and finish inspired and amazed every time.

Ray Bradbury has an unbelievable and memorable way with words that has cemented him as a classic novelist and storyteller in American literary history.