Pages: 228 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, 20 in 2009
Summary from Publisher:
Susannah’s official boyfriend, Jason, is the perfect foil for her student lifestyle. He is ten years older, an antiques dealer, and owns a stylish apartment that prevents her from having to live in the seedy digs on campus. This way, she can take her philosophy major very seriously and dabble in the social and sexual freedom of 1970s university life. But circumstances become more complicated than Susannah would like when she begins to have an affair with her tutorial partner, Rob. Soon she is dating two men, missing her lectures, exploring independence and feminism with her girlfriends, and finding herself in a particularly impossible dilemma: she becomes pregnant. Forced to look beyond her friends and lovers for support, she finds help and inspiration from the lessons of Kierkegaard and other European philosophers.
A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy is a delightfully insightful, bittersweet coming-of-age romp, in which love is far from platonic and the mind—body predicament a pressing reality. It even succeeds where many introductions to philosophy have failed, by effortlessly bringing to life the central tenets of the most important European philosophers of modern times.
I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading A Girl’s Guide. The writing was excellent, the structure was impeccable. It was a genuinely amazing read. It was one of those that I literally sat down for about two hours and read straight through.
One of the biggest draws to this novel is the main character, Susannah. She is a normal girl. She is moderately intelligent, attractive and has a supremely annoying boyfriend. She also had a supreme lack of confidence and an ability to be quite indecisive. I think any girl in her late teens, early 20s could identify with that. I want her to do well. I want her to succeed. I really want her to dump those two dunderheads she is involved with. Susannah is one of the elements that make this novel truly worth a read.
The way the novel was structured was interesting and unique. I love that the novel was organized by which book Susannah was reading for her modern philosophy class. It really incorporates the philosophy in an interesting way without overpowering the reader with philosophic thought and theory. It sort of reminded me of Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (one of my favorite novels). I think I may actually prefer this a bit more.
I tried to find a flaw with this novel and seriously couldn’t find any in the novel itself. The only thing I could think of that I didn’t really like is the cover. To me, at least, it gives the impression of a frothy, beach-type read and that is not what A Girl’s Guide is. If that is my only criticism then the book must be good.