Kate's Reviews > The Golden Mean

The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon
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's review
Mar 03, 11

bookshelves: book-club-books
Read in January, 2011

This novel sounded exciting to me at first, because I was sure a story about such prominent and powerful historical figures would be interesting. I felt the book was less focused on history and characters, and more on some of the philosophies Aristotle promoted. The novel focuses greatly on family relationships, that of Aristotle and his own father, of Alexander and his father Philip or his mother Olympias. The relationship of tutor to student was explored, but not as much as I felt was needed. It felt as soon as the author really started to dig into Alexander and Aristotle's relationship, she would pull back and take us back to the musings of Aristotle on other subjects. The book dwelt on unhappy marriages, and often on sicknesses of the mind or body, which affected the actions and decisions of Alexander and Aristotle.

I think that while the book was interesting, it felt very detached and indifferent in many places. I was annoyed because I thought that Aristotle behaved quite stupidly at points in the book, and while some of his writings and ideas can seem silly to the modern mind, he was a brilliant philosopher and an incredibly knowledgeable person. I like the way the author portrayed Alexander, but since I was reading the book through the first-person narrative of Aristotle, I never got to see or hear quite as much of their relationship as I wanted. I felt as though the author was constantly drawing my attention to certain details and my reaction to them was, "Yeah?" Which may be because I didn't get the book on the level I was supposed to, but there are many, including some among my book club, that admired and enjoyed it.
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