Friday, March 6, 2009

A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig

Author: Charlotte Greig
Release Date: May 2009
Category: Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Summary: In A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy, we meet Susannah, a 20-something philosophy major at Sussex University in the United Kingdom during the 1970s. Susannah’s official boyfriend Jason is the perfect mate, in the sense that he is about 10 years older than her, a mildly successful antiques dealer, and the owner of an elegant apartment off campus, but he’s not perfect enough to “keep” her. With Jason, Susannah can go to school, study philosophy, and explore the life of a normal student without having to live in the less than desirable student housing. Things were simple, that is until Susannah becomes involved with her tutorial partner, Rob. Rob is unlike Jason in every way, he’s 18, free spirited, broke, and lives in communal housing with a large group of other people. Susannah begins dating both men, missing her classes, discussing feminism with her girlfriends, at least until she finds herself in a predicament on the largest scale: she becomes pregnant. She has to turn away from her friends and lovers when their advice is not what she is looking for, so she turns to likes of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and other European philosophers. Do they have the answers she’s looking for, or will she be forced to take this journey on her own?

Review: I liked it, it's a pretty good read. At least a small background in philosophy is helpful, but not totally necessary. The character of Susannah is so easy to relate to at times, and then other times you just want to smack her upside the head and tell her to put down the philosophy and grow up. Her two best friends remind me of the girls I knew in high school, one being the girl that likes to party and knows how to have fun even when it’s a bit too much fun, yet a bit overemotional at times and completely irrational; the other being the uptight girl that is always concerned about her grades, common sense taking precedent over every other reasoning, totally rational, and yet can still cut loose once everything is in it’s right place. Jason and Rob are polar opposites and it’s like being right to choosing between the rebel that will potentially break your heart and the sensible guy that will do anything to keep you, including lying to himself in the process. Charlotte Greig definitely hits the nail on the head with her first novel. This is definitely worth reading and something that can possibly help put things in perspective when that rebel/bad boy breaks your heart, and they always do.

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