Have you ever read Ray Bradbury’s short story All Summer in a Day?
There are few exercises I remember from school, but this story left a lasting impression on me. I admit I didn’t remember it was Bradbury, and I was excited when I came across it again in a book of short stories. I told my wife that she just had to read it. I know my sister also read this story and was affected by it.
The story is science fiction set on Venus – a rainy, jungle planet. It is so rainy that the sun is visible only briefly every 7 years. The 9 year old main character Margot is from Earth. She has been on Venus for 5 years and still remembers the sun.
Her classmates were only 2 years old when they last saw the sun. They have no memory of it. Margot misses the sun dearly, and is emotionally and physically wilting like a flower.
Her peers mock her. They dispute her memories of the sun. She is new to Venus, strange to them and different. They single her out and she withdraws, becoming a loner in their midst.
There is a heart-wrenching event, played out as childhood shenanigans, that takes place on the day the sun comes out. You just have to read it.
There was a movie, too. It had a feel good ending, which isn’t necessary and waters down the message. I wholeheartedly recommend the story.
I love reading Bradbury to my son. I’ve got a tradition of reading the Halloween Tree to him in the Fall. But this story is too strong for now, I think. He has been dealing with some other 3rd grade friendship issues. This story will have to wait.