Felix Salten’s BAMBI

At tor.com, a surprising (at least, I was surprised) post by Mari Ness about Felix Salten’s BAMBI.

I totally loved that book as a kid. It has a lot of substance to it, far more than a cute Disney movie could possibly convey.

Mari Ness says: “But more than any of this, Bambi is a study, not of death and violence precisely, but the response to that death and violence.”

This is exactly right. Did I mention this is not a light-hearted romp of a story? Ness also takes a good look at Salten himself, his history and how it influenced the way he put the book together, which is not something I ever thought about. It explains the way he treated dogs and other domestic animals in BAMBI, which is the only detail that really bothered me when I read the book — even though I did not have dogs until I was an adult, I knew that this was not an accurate picture of how dogs actually feel. I like that passage with the dogs and the fox better when it is cast as an allegory, as Ness asserts it should be.

Anyway, if you, too, loved Salten’s book, you may want to click through and read this post.

And if you are solely familiar with Disney’s cute film, then let me say that the original book is an entirely different kind of story and — especially if you like MG / YA stories — very much worth reading.

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4 thoughts on “Felix Salten’s BAMBI”

  1. I am among those who read the book, and I remember liking very much at the time. But it didn’t have the call to reread – I often don’t with translated books, I wonder if it’s a translation thing? Still as I recall it was not sentimental in the slightest, instead matter of fact about the harshness of living in nature.

    Comments either in the Tor thread of on Amazon complain about the modern editions being hugely abridged. I wonder what I read? It was in the school library, and looked old. I hope it was the original, undumbed down version. I poked around Project Gutenberg, but either no one’s been interested in putting it up, or the old translation is still under copyright.

  2. I think the only time I ever thought an abridged version was better than the original was The Count of Monte Christo. I’m pretty sure I read an unabridged version of Bambi — I can think of scenes that would have surely been cut in a “hugely abridged” version. Like the bit with the leaves talking to each other, and the bit with the mayflies.

    Sentimental, definitely not. Not even slightly.

  3. In the comments to that post, someone says there’s a sequel, BAMBI’S CHILDREN. I had no idea. Has anyone ever seen it?

  4. Yes, I used to have it and read it several times. I don’t know that it would hold up to adult reading the way BAMBI does, though.

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