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A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy
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A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy

3.05  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
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 beco ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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This book chimed with me for a variety of reasons; I was at university during the same period, so many of the experiences, fashions and dilemmas were familiar and nostalgic. I was expecting more problems with the descriptions of philosophy, as I've never studied it. However, there were few ideas that were difficult to grasp,and the third chapter dealing with Nietzche and 'Human, All too human' came startlingly close to my own feelings and experiences when a student. The author could have been de ...more
Holly Lee (Bellas Novella)
Charlotte Greig puts forth quite an effort with "A Girls Guide to Modern European Philosophy". The novel is well thought out, an insightful version of chick lit.

Susannah is a Philosophy student that takes her studies very seriously. She loves to participate in extracurricular activities such as rallies as well. The setting is the 70's when the women's liberation movement was gaining ground.

Susannah realizes that her long term boyfriend isn't who, or what she wants out of life, yet feels powerles
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
I really enjoyed reading this book. The book was set in the 1970's - and even though the date is never mentioned, there are many clues regarding fashion, cars, etc, that lead you to the time frame. Susannah is very engaging and she drew me in immediately. Even though she did not want to live on campus and be a normal student, she seemed to crave the quiet that she found when she stayed at her friend's empty dorm room. It was almost like she was still a little girl who seemed to think she was su ...more
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 ...more
Dorothyanne Brown
Feb 11, 2012 Dorothyanne Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my head I've been wandering about, wondering if my academic career spent in the sciences has left a gaping hole in the philosophical and historical realm. It's true, it has, and I feel as if, now, I am running behind myself, trying to catch up.
So the title of this book enticed me, despite the thickly written back cover (which I still haven't read in its entirety) - very off-putting. And the start of the book is slowish- but I got completely pulled in by Susannah, a woman who screams herself
Aug 22, 2009 Anna rated it it was ok
Although I breezed through this 275-page book and never found myself bored, A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy never truly grabbed me. The main point of the book (and this tidbit is in the blurb on the back cover, so I’m not giving much away) is that Susannah finds herself pregnant…and of course, she doesn’t know whether Jason or Rob is the father. This plot point was too cliché for my tastes. Given that the book takes place on a college campus in the 1970s, Susannah’s friend, Fiona, s ...more
Darrell Reimer
Aug 11, 2009 Darrell Reimer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susannah is a second year university student, carelessly indulging her confusions in a manner that readers of a certain age will quickly recognize. Watching her drift between her two lovers, her capacity to properly attend to matters is apparently questionable, except when it comes to her curriculum. She mulls over her western philosophers as frequently as she considers the benefits and weaknesses of her lovers, or her wardrobe, but with a little more care. Her moment of clarity is foreordained, ...more
As a 22 year old philosophy student at Sussex, Susannah’s life revolves around her studies and her relationship with her older boyfriend Jason. When a boy in her course catches her fancy, she’s suddenly pulled in two different directions, but instead of making a decision and choosing one over the other , she floats along and lets her philosophical musings convince her that making no decision is a decision in and of itself. When the situation hits the fan and Susannah finally has to look into her ...more
Jul 02, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For one reason or another, I fell in love with A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy on the very first page. Some books are just like that for me, but I can never explain why. I suppose I should make a list of them and compare those first pages in an attempt to find the answer.

The setting is the mid-70s, but I didn’t realize that at first (vinyl is popular again, so I just figured Jason loved the warmth of vinyl); the story does go on to mention events that solidify it as the 70s, but the
May 23, 2009 Cheryl rated it did not like it
The year is 1974.

Some days it feels like Susannah and her boyfriend Jason are talking complete circles around each other. A big reason for that might have to do with the fact that Jason is ten years older than Susannah. Also Jason is an antiques dealer, whereas Susannah is a college student at Sussex University. But there is one advantage to dating an older man and that is Susannah does not have to live on campus.

One of Susannah’s study partners for Modern European Mind has a mental breakdown a
Susannah Jones is working on her philosophy degree at a college in Sussex, circa the 1970's. She seems trapped between worlds, not wanting to dwell in the short-changed domiciles of her fellow students, nor be stifled in the identity robbing adult world of her boyfriend. But finding a balance between the two doesn't come easily. Living with her 10-years-older boyfriend provides a certain sense of financial safety but he seems to take her for granted not bothering to be home for days at a time, m ...more
A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy was just ok to me. I think before deciding to read it I should have considered the fact that the word "Philosophy" was in the title a bit more than I did. I think if I appreciated Philosophy a bit more than I do I would have enjoyed it more.

I found the story to be rather slow moving for me. I thought the idea of Susannah trying to balance two relationships, school, and growing up would be enough to grab my attention but still I had troubles enjoying i
Jul 16, 2009 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um, yeah, needed a diversion so I read my vacation book before vacation. Decent read, the philosophy bits were the most interesting especially as they were interwoven with the narrator's decisions. And I've been meaning to revisit Heidegger and Kierkegaard. (LOVED my time as a philosophy student!) But after so much philosophical discourse the ending devolved into chick lit (which usually is not my thing). That's the best way I can describe it because there was such a disconnect between the caref ...more
Liza Gilbert
Susanna is a philosophy student at Essex University. She lives with a boyfriend she doesn't really like in his apartment, which she considers to be a warehouse for antiques. Much of the story is concerned with appearances (clothes, shoes, where to eat, walking around alone, what to drink, what to read). Everything passes through Susanna's mind only to be judged on how it would appear to others. This isn't just a pattern of behavior for Susanna; she's a snob.

The writing isn't bad, and the story c
Aug 15, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it
The plug on the cover of the book calls it "saucy," which it is not, and "profoundly funny," which it is also not. (I am beginning to wonder if reviewers feel like they have to call a book funny if they liked it, even if it isn't particularly funny.) It is "beautifully written," however, so at least Tracy Quan, author of "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" got that part right. The first half of the novel is an angsty introduction to Susannah and her life, then the book hits its stride. I enjoyed th ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Kept thinking it would get better, but it didn't. And then it ended with (view spoiler). One of those books where I wish I wouldn't have wasted my time.
May 27, 2009 Terzah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable and thought-provoking book. It could have been a 1970s-era Bridget Jones' Diary knock-off, but it rose above that thanks to the smattering of philosophy, fleshed-out, mostly sympathetic characters and gritty period details (did people really smoke so much back then???). I liked that the setting wasn't urban New York or London, that the narrator wasn't perfect (I often sympathized with Rob, her lover, more than with her) and that the big decision she had to make at the end was ne ...more
Fascinating book that I'm going to need to keep reflecting on before I can finish this review. This is a novel about a young philosophy student and it weeks modern philosophers' works into her thinking and actions--quite an interesting concept. The book claims to weave in Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and others, but I really feel like I only learned about Nietzsche. The story itself is wonderful, light at times, heavy at others, but very well written with good characters AND humor--an interesting and ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's the 1970's set at a sea-side town. Lots of smoking, coffee, wine , free love & v little food. Incipient of the civil rights movement. Think Nietzsche & Kierkegaard's were the underpinnings of 1970's.

Nevertheless, the book didn't sit well with me. Didn't think the discourse of the philosophy was essential to book (unlike sophie's world), at least 3/4 of it didn't seem so. Will grudging admit though, the book is not the formulaic usual.
Dec 10, 2012 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm torn. I really thought it was going to go a different direction and then it didn't. I had no idea it was set in the 1970's until almost the end of the book. Maybe I missed an earlier reference. However, I couldn't put the book down and so hence the three stars instead of the two stars.

I thought the main character was a brat. She annoyed me. As did her boyfriend. And one of her closest friends. But, I soldiered through nonetheless.
Jun 10, 2013 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Chick lit. I read it in about 2 hours. Kinda fluffy, although the writing style is actually quite solid. The story is predictable though. (spoiler alert!): I guessed the boyfriend was gay early on. The use of philosophy as a template for her rather typical 20-something life is sophomoric. I probably did it myself at that age. It's a great beach book: doesn't require many brain cells, can be read while drunk and you don't mind if the book gets wet!
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Jan 02, 2010 Audra (Unabridged Chick) rated it it was amazing
I had mixed feelings when I began the book but by the end, I couldn't put it down. Susannah was actually very engaging, despite her bad life choices, and I found her plight far more moving than I anticipated. The conclusion was very satisfying -- I thought it was going to be a she-had-the-baby-and-lived-happily-ever-after wrap up, and it wasn't.
A philosophy student juggles two men and doesn't know what to do when she becomes pregnant. I enjoyed her stroll with Kierkegaard, it made me laugh. Otherwise, I'm not terribly interested in the sexual revolution of the 1970's and I suspect some philsophical meaning was intended in places, especially the end, that missed me.
Nov 04, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok
Samantha, working on her dissertation in philosophy, uses lessons from Nietzsche and Kirkegrard to direct her actions, namely, beginning an affair with her classmate, even though she lieves with a boyfriend 10 years her senior. The writing a little dense, and the protagonist is not a particularly sympathetic character.
May 14, 2010 Stina rated it it was ok
Interesting premise and I liked the mixing of philosophy with real life, but in real life the dialouge is not nearly so painful. Also, it took me until pretty much the last chapter to understand that this took place in the '70s instead of more recently. Not sure if that's good or bad.
Jul 14, 2009 Satia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had this novel been written and published thirty years ago, it would have been quite scandalous and daring. Unfortunately, it wasn't and therefore it isn't. For more thoughts and the full review:
Sep 10, 2009 Louisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009summerautumn
I enjoyed this despite the title. I had to push myself a bit to get through it since the narrator seems so flaky and unlikable. My opinion of her changed by the end, and I almost wanted to pick up my college copy of Kierkegaard again.
Aug 02, 2009 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cheryl
There comes a point where this book moved me to tears. Its protagonist is really vibrant and well crafted. Cheryl, I think your mom might like it too, though it won't get finished right away. It's not like that.
May 14, 2011 Lauren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It started out promising but then it dragged and when I was halfway through I realized I hated it and stopped reading. Life is too short for drawn out, boring books.
Aug 06, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Depressing. The whole book was gray. Nothing sparkled, nothing came to life. None of the characters felt young and constantly stating their ages won't change that.
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