I don’t know.
I really don’t.
I was looking forward to reading this book for a couple of reasons.
1. I won it
2. It’s had lots of critical acclaim and loads of people have been talking about it
3. I like the title
4. I like the cover
5. It’s a New York Times Bestseller.
So I started out with high hopes.
At first I really didn’t like it at all. And then I liked bits of it and not other bits. And then by page 200 I was hooked and I raced on down to the last page, thoroughly enjoying the ride.
I was completely charmed by the story of the French concierge and the other characters living at number 7, rue de Grenelle, but the problem was that as soon as I got stuck into their lives I was pulled rudely away from them to go into pages and pages of philosophy, that if I’m honest, went right over my head.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I feel like perhaps I’m just not smart enough for this book. I’ve never read any Tolstoy, Marx or Freud, so a lot of that stuff about ‘the meaning of life, etc.’ just came across as a little pretentious and boring to me.
I suppose a philosopher would say they liked the philosophical ideas in the book, but that the author kept interrupting it with all those pesky characters.
I often felt like the author only created these characters because she needed a framework within which to spout her philosophical ideas and show how smart she is.
Overall though I ended up really thoroughly enjoying it. (I know, sorry, it’s a bit of a schizophrenic review) and I’m so glad I read it. Curious to hear how others have felt about it.
I will now continue to ‘pass on the love’ by handing it over to A Million Miles from Normal reader, Chryssa, who won it by default, by being the only person who showed any interest in getting it after me. Maybe she’ll write us a review too, and we can compare them.
Thanks so much book club blog. I’m so glad I got to read it.