Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery


Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 336
Source: Personal Book

In short, this book is a must read. A compelling, fascinating and a brilliant read. When I first started the book, I thought it was a very "odd" book. Once I gave it some time, I thought it was hilarious and couldn’t put it down. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is an unusual book that focuses on philosophy, class and culture. I really enjoyed the characters. Mmd. Michel and Paloma were two of my favorite. It was very interesting to see their views on the world. They both seem to believe that everyone and everything had a role to play in life, and there is no way around it. A straight cut path that must never be changed. Mmd. Michel believes she is the concierge of the building and nothing more. She hides her intelligence because as a concierge she must fit into her stereotype and the overall hierarchy. Paloma is afraid to become an adult and plans to commit suicide before her 13th birthday. It seems that Paloma believes adults are tarnished. Her mother has been in therapy for ten years, and she clearly has issues with her father and sister. Life is about struture, and stereotypes. Paloma begins to drink tea rather than coffee, coffee is a nasty persons drink while tea is "elegant and enchanting." When Mr. Ozu comes to live in their building, Mmd. Michel is no longer able to hide. He has a suspicion that she is not merely a concierge, he believes her cat is named after Tolstoy and he begins to observe her. Eventually, Mmd. Michel gives in to her convictions. She comes out of her shell, and befriends Mr. Ozu. Mmd Michel's change brings out hope in young Paloma.


This book is a must read, it's entertaining and really makes readers think. A story of interior struggles. The structure of this book works really well, and keeps the readers entertained and stimulated. Each chapter reads like an essay, and Barbery has unquestionable talent. While it did seem strange to begin, it didn’t take me long to be completly absored and invested in the characters. This is a book I would love to reread. 

10 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds great- definitely adding it to the TBR list. Wonderful review!

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  2. This sounds very interesting. With how teen suicide has been a serious issue lately and how the media has been covering it, I can definitely see myself reading this book but becoming extremely anxious when reading the suicide-thoughts parts. Thanks for your review.

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  3. Glad to know that you liked 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog', Jennifer! It is one of my alltime favourite books :) Wonderful to know that you liked it so much. Enjoyed reading your review.

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  4. I've heard this one starts out slow. I'm a little hesitant to pick it up because I'm afraid I might not be smart enough for it.

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  5. I LOVED this book. It actually surprised me how much I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, my book club did not feel the same way. Most of them loathed it.

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  6. Sounds like it takes some getting used to at first but then completely draws the reader in. That's a sneak attack. Glad you loved the book. I'll have to give this one some consideration because I love funny books with a good story.

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  7. I can't wait to read this one, and have it on my shelf just waiting for the right time. I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it and that it was such an engrossing read for you. That bodes well for me!

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  8. I have been wanting to read this for a long time, I've just never picked it up. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  9. Sounds wonderful and I love the cover! That alone would probably make me want to buy it.

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