Ashley's Reviews > The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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Jun 05, 12

Read in May, 2012

I have to be honest, I have developed a loathing of all things French. So when I began the book and realized it was a French translation, and a overly wordy, flowery, FRENCH book, I can't lie to you, I wasn't impressed. My loath of Frenchness comes from a personal issue with a certain individual who's claim that all things French are better were a cause for some of my original distaste, but as well the speed of the book bothered me. Only when the book reached the 3/4 mark did the characters start to interest me, engage me, intrigue me. Until that point I found myself reading page after page to simply get through the book. I must finish a book, no questions.

In the end I wasn't impressed. Although the book got better towards the end and the characters livened up, I found myself irritated with the characters and their over the top proclamations and tendency to dribble on and on about things like Tolstoy. I mean yes, he's a fantastic writer, but I don't read books to have characters lecture me as if I'm in a college English class again, I read books for a story, to fall in love with characters, plot, language and place. This book felt like it was posturing to me to be smart when all it felt was dull.
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Reading Progress

05/17/2012 page 80
25.0%

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Tori (new)

Tori Did Kelly write this?


Ashley Ha! Probably.


Majda Oh my! This must be one of my most favorite books ever. I was so sorry when it was over, and thought the translation was brilliant. Who knew we could be on such opposite sides on this one?!


Kater Ashley, you disappoint me! I found this book to be brilliantly written, devastating at the end, but still oddly hopeful. Incredible characters. This book represents a masterclass in intelligent writing. --Your Favorite Editor


Ashley Majda wrote: "Oh my! This must be one of my most favorite books ever. I was so sorry when it was over, and thought the translation was brilliant. Who knew we could be on such opposite sides on this one?!"

I don't know! Maybe it's because I've developed a loathing of ALL things French that made me unable to loves these characters. I just felt so unconnected to them, and their critique about life, literature and love felt to me contrite. But again, this could be my bias and not the book itself. Who knows!


Ashley Kater wrote: "Ashley, you disappoint me! I found this book to be brilliantly written, devastating at the end, but still oddly hopeful. Incredible characters. This book represents a masterclass in intelligent wri..."

See, I found the characters to be contrite. So, FRENCH. See, can you tell I've developed a loathing of the French and their culture? :) Maybe I was just in the wrong place to read this one. I did begin to warm up to the book around the halfway point, I did, but the bad taste in my mouth from the early portion I was simply unable to shake.

I'm sure though if I'd studied this book in an English class I'd have found a way to love it. But as a nightly read I couldn't fall in love.


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