I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. And I am incredibly conflicted. First I should say that I struggled through the entire book, however I think the blame lays entirely at my door. I don’t think I am smart enough to enjoy the book. The book is basically written as a series of essays written by either Renee, a middle-aged concierge or Paloma, a twelve-year-old girl. I was interested in the events of the book, however a majority of the essays had nothing to do with the actual storyline. These were often far above my head (and/or interest level). I don’t like to admit it, but I never would have finished the whole thing if it weren’t for the reading challenge. And I am glad I finished it; there were portions that I thoroughly enjoyed. I actually laughed out loud at one point… On the train… In front of a lot of people.
One of my major complaints is the length of the sentences. I know, this sounds ridiculous, but look at the following sentence!
When we westerners walk, our culture dictates that we must, through the continuity of a movement we envision as smooth and seamless, try to restore what we take to be the very essence of life: efficiency without obstacles, a fluid performance that , being free of interruption, will represent the vital élan thanks to which all will be realized.
I had to read the above sentence several times before fully comprehending what the author was trying to express. Anyone else?
Also, not a complaint, but just a heads up: there is a lot of philosophy (and phenomonology) talk. Of which I have little to no interest in.
In short, I personally did not really enjoy the book. But I think that was merely because it was not what I was looking for. The fact that I didn’t enjoy the book does not mean that it wasn’t well written or that someone else wouldn’t enjoy it. I am going to rate it two stars. But don’t let that deter you! If you like philosophy and
boring essays, then this might be a perfect book for you.
With the completion of The Elegance of the Hedgehog – I earn 5 points.
Book # -1
So if I read a book in November and didn’t realize that the Winter Book Challenge had started, it still counts right?!?! So, according to Amazon, I bought The Twelve on November 19, so definitely within the time frame. It is the second book in Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy. It is a post-apocalyptic series, that reminded me of the style of Stephen King’s The Stand. I am not going to write a detailed review, however, I really enjoyed the book. It was the type of book that I read as quickly as I could so that I could find out what happens next ASAP! I am pretty sure I missed a lot of the intricacies. No worries though! I will re-read the first two books before the third one comes out. In the attempt to determine when the third book will be released (no luck, so apparently a long time from now) I discovered that they are planning on making movies based on the trilogy. I am not sure any movie will be able to do the books justice.
I am going to count The Twelve under the category “Read a book with a number in the title” 20 points!
So my running total is 25 points! Progress is slow…