I have been a fan of ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry since I first read it in French class when I was 13. The child prince looking for the meaning of life with his inquisitive mind and his untouched and pure child views, makes us adults see the world in a more abstract and simple child-like way by bringing up simple and obvious questions about life, which can be hard to answer. I love the philosophical thoughts it provokes and every summer I re-read ‘The Young Prince’ to make sure my inner child doesn’t fall asleep or actually dies. The perspectives the novel delivers cater to all ages, and each time I read it the interpretations change as life moves on and life-experience expands. A masterpiece like this is never the same once you go back to it and revisit your initial interpretation, it has something magical to it.

Generally, the law of attraction reflects and attracts in the outside what your inside is yearning for, so it makes total sense that this book chose me at Bangkok Airport: ‘The Return of the Young Prince’ by Argentinian Alejandro Guillermo Roemmers. It also made sense that it was heavily raining all day on that same day arrived in Khao Lak, because rainy days are for reading. The novel couldn’t wait. I plunged into the novel head first, only to come back out into the world again as a changed person a few hours later.

‘It was a miracle that had transformed me utterly in the space of three days, one of those marvels that no one sees coming, because miracles of love are as simple as they are great’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

It is another wonderfully philosophical story, respectfully continuing and interconnecting with the original story. The young prince is a teenager now and is looking for the answers to his many questions in order to become an adult. He crashes onto Earth and lands in the planes of Patagonia where he is picked up by the main protagonist who then drives with him through Patagonia for 3 days in order to end up in a major city.

Throughout the journey they discuss numerous aspects of life as there is nothing much to do or to see when driving on straight roads and through barren lands. Just as the original by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry offers many thoughts about life that we often forget about as we become adults, this unofficial ‘sequel’ honors us with a similar guidance in reconsidering our values and aspects. As we grow older, we seem to become more and more complex and influenced by our surroundings, be it people or the society we live in, so our views become more defined and we often act on auto-pilot. It can be disturbing to overthrow personal views and realign one’s values but this novel clearly challenges the reader to come back to basic philosophical questions and topics about human life.

15 take-aways from ‘The Return of the Young Prince’ by A.G. Roemmers

  1. Provide and accept help whenever possible.
  2. Everyone has their own timing, so don’t rush others.
  3. Trust that the majority of people mean well and get rid of permanent skepticism.
  4. If you are having wonderfully passionate conversation, time flies.
  5. Love and respect any living organism, always. Material doesn’t matter.

6. Don’t overthink problems because they are easy to solve

…‘A problem is like a door you haven’t got the key to‘ ’And what do you do when you come across a problem?’ the boy wanted to know, becoming more and more interested in the conversation, even though he carried staring into the distance. ’Well, the first thing you do is to see if the problem really is yours, if it’s your path that it’s blocking. That’s vital.’ I explained, ‘because there are a lot of people who interfere in other people’s problems, even though they haven’t been asked for help. They lose time, waste their strength and prevent others from finding their own solutions.’ It was clear he agreed with this obvious truth, one which many adults don’t accept. ‘And if the problem really is yours?’ He continued, turning towards me. ‘Then you have to find the right key, and put it into the lock in the right sort of way.’ – ‘It sounds simple,’ the boy concluded with a nod. ‘Don’t you believe it,’ I replied. ‘Some people don’t even find the key – and not for a lack of imagination but because they’re unwilling to try two or three times with the keys that they have, and sometimes they don’t even try at all. They want someone to hand them the key, or, even worse, to come and open the door for them.’ – ‘And are they all capable of opening the door?’ – ‘If you’re convinced you can do it, then you almost certainly can. But if you believe you can’t, that practically guarantees you won’t manage it.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

7. Everything you face in life is a reflection of your inner self.

‘When you push hard against the wall’, I began, ‘you can feel the wall resisting with the same force… ‘If I see a face I don’t like in the mirror, the only thing I can do is smile.’… Really, there is only one way of changing the world, and that’s by changing yourself.

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

8. Forgiving and letting go are two of the strongest powers there are to move on in life.

‘You’ll be happy if you love and forgive, because you’ll be loved and forgiven in turn. You can’t forgive if you don’t love, because forgiveness will never outgrow love. And finally, it’s impossible to love and forgive others without loving and forgiving yourself first.(…) it’s enough just to want to become a better person, and to accept that you have always done the best that you could.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

9. Be mindful and live in the present.

‘… dive headfirst into the reality of being, and let themselves be carried along by it. They should concentrate on living, being and loving in every moment, and not get too obsessed with their final destination. When obstacles come up, they could adopt new forms of being which would reaffirm their essential qualities, like a river whose depth and direction are changing. The most important things is to be as attentive and aware as possible, with our senses awakened and our ability to love utterly intact, so that we can exist right here and now, and enjoy life and be creative, trapped in neither the past nor the future.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

10. Don’t change for other people

’Either way, the most important thing is that you don’t stop being yourself in order to fit with what other people want…. I only believe in a person’s greatness if he is recognised as great by the people who know him, because if you manage to communicate something truly important, even if it is only a small group around you, you can be sure that that light will forge its way through the whole horizon of shadows, just as the glow of a distant star travels thousand of years of darkness to reach us.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

11. Stop trying to control everything.

’They judge and characterise others, stuffing them into physical and mental niches that will be very hard to ever get out of. And so they paralyse the unlimited transformative richness of the universe and of human love. If parents put as much effort into teaching their children love as they do into extracting discipline and routine, this planet would be a wonderful one to live on… What we normally mean by ‘discipline’ is imposing our human limited sense of order on to nature, which is divine and therefore superior. Humankind should beware arranging nature for their benefit, as the result tends to be the opposite of what they intended: a natural disorder which turns against them.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

12. Everyone is allowed to have their own beliefs.

’…, given that our limited human intelligence is unable to conceive of an infinite idea. The thing I find most shameful is that even today, in their ignorance, people carry on killing each other over the different answers you can give to that question… I prefer to feel God as a need to come together with all living creatures, as a sort of loving energy that sustains not just all of us but the whole universe.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

13. Don’t betray your desires…

‘…, and don’t burry them inside yourself until they die of starvation. Learn to bring what’s real together with what you yearn for. In all that you do, give the best of yourself to each person so that they can return your love. You’ll see that the world will become a magnifying mirror, reflecting back at you everything that you gave without self-interest, and more.(…) ‘There will be a moment when you’re suspended between a world that revolves around you, in childhood, and a world that is open to others when we’re grown up. It’s then that you have to let go of everything fanciful, all your stubbornness and all your selfishness, so you can grow into the convictions you’ll need for defending your noble ideas.

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

14. Love yourself.

‘Love yourself and you will be able to love others. Love your dreams, so that you can use them to build a world that is warm and beautiful, full of smiles and hugs. That will be the world you want to live in, and it will turn in the orbit of the rainbow.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

15. We never know why things are the way they are. Situations and people are meant to cross you to get you back on your personal path.

‘In the universal design of creation, it’s possible that a lot of things that happen have a meaning we still haven’t understood. Could it be that weeds grow so we have to pull them up, and so avoid becoming lazy? Might there be pain in the world so tat we can value our happiness? Does hate perhaps exist so that we can experience the spiritual fulfillment of forgiveness? The truth is that without difficulties along the way, it would be impossible to make progress as human beings and discover our true nature. It is at really critical moments that the best of us comes to light.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

‘Many people worry about the end of their lives. They would do better to worry about giving their lives a proper beginning, and making sure they bear fruit.’

The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers

The novel makes us as readers rethink many issues that we were quite sure we had dealt with indefinitely and gently pushes us to reconsider them. Throughout the reading process one feels compelled to take breaks to just think about the given proposition so make sure you take a few hours to not just read through the relatively short novel, but also take the time to consider its content.

It is a powerful read and definitely a book that will stay in my library to be re-read many times. It is a true gem and fell into my life just because I was bored at the airport. Clearly, having some empty time slots in your life can leave some space for the magic of serendipity to happen.

Novel details: The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers, first published in Spanish as ‘El regreso del Joven Principe’ in 2013, translated by Oliver Brock in 2016 with illustrations by Pietari Posti. Edition in the picture published in 2018 by Oneworld Publications, UK

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