Beth's Reviews > The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, readers-society, translation
Read from July 21 to 24, 2011

I suggested this book for my book club after reading it a while back, and right before our meeting I went through goodreads reviews and read a lot of them. Well, I agreed with almost all of them, both good and bad, and I'm glad I did it because it prepared me for the negative comments from my book club members.

The book is about Renee, a concierge in a fancy apartment building in Paris, and Paloma, a 12-year-old girl who lives in the apartment. Both of them are way too smart for their own damn good, and both are obnoxious, secretive, and snobby. Both of them also need for someone to see past all that, and to give them something beautiful to hang on to.

There are rants on the futility of life, disgust for the rich and upper middle class, digressions on art and philosophy, and way too many big words that require a dictionary. These bothered a lot of people, but I was in a mood to enjoy it so I did. I read it on my iPad and looked up the art and the philosophers as I read. It made me feel like an autodidact, a word I was only passingly familiar with before I started the book, and which I will now always associate with Renee - the elegant hedgehog.
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