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Blondie and Read

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery I picked up this book, not because I found it in the bookstore and it sounded cool. Not because it had been recommended to me many a-times. Not because it had been flying off the shelves at the library. I picked up this book because it was a chosen book for a book club meeting that I couldn't even attend. I decided I still wanted to read the book, though I would not be able to attend the formal book talk, because I still wanted to know what my book club friends would be talking about for the following weeks until the next book is decided.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the book. I had a really hard time giving it a rating. At this very minute, this very line, I still do not know what I'm going to rate it at the end of this post. I guess we'll start with pros and cons.

Pros: 1. Language. The language really challenged me. While it was definitely pretentious, I enjoyed that I needed to keep a dictionary next to me while reading. I like reading books that are going to make me think and expand my vocabulary. There was subtle humor throughout Paloma and Renee's chapters that I found endearing and giggled a couple times. 2. Multiple narrators. As I mentioned in previous posts, I do enjoy multiple narrators if done correctly. I think this book did an okay job with the multiple narrators. (See cons for a more detailed explanation.) 3. Character growth. I loved the character growth that both characters exhibit and go through. Paloma starts out as an angsty, wise, young girl with the intent of putting down her thoughts before suicide. Renee starts the book as an older (not elderly) concierge of a hotel and hides her genius. 4. There is a great example of repetition with the whole idea of the camellias. Enjoyed the meaning behind the flowers.

Cons: 1. Language. It was pretentious as all get-out. PRETENTIOUS. A couple of my reader friends said they cried. One cried many times. I didn't feel that connected and I blame the language for this one. 2. Multiple narrators. Both narrators were seemingly the same. They both had an air about them. They both hid the fact that they were super smart. They both had similar experiences with various characters. What was the point of multiple narrators? I'm not sure. Each one could have been it's own book. Not sure why it was necessary. 3. Character growth. There was absolutely character growth, buut right when things were turning around - when they were getting good - it ends. The book has it's climax and it's done. I wanted so much more. I almost felt abandoned by the author. It was just insanely abrupt and I'm not sure about how I feel about it. I understand "why" on one hand, but the other is just a twenty-something-dirtbag wanting so much more resolution. Was I satisfied? I don't know. I'm left with a weird taste in my mouth.

As mentioned before, I waffled over what the rating should be. I really liked that I was challenged. I wrote notes in my book - the first time in, like, forever. However, there are some things that I wasn't completely sold on.

My rating and why: I give this three. Mostly because I'm not sure what I should do with it. I like it buuuuuuuut there are definitely questions. For that reason, maybe my rating should be higher. Maybe it should be a four, but not right now. Perhaps I'll read this again, down the road, and think this post to be silly and naive. For now, it's a three.