Beth's Reviews > The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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's review
Jan 26, 2009

it was amazing
Read in December, 2008

This is probably the book I enjoyed most of my books read in 2008.

In an upper-class apartment building in Paris, a frumpy concierge knows much more about art, literature, and philosophy than she lets on to the residents of the apartment. She acts like a stereotypical middle aged concierge - just as they expects her to do. She doesn't let on about who she is or what she really thinks.

In the same building, a precociously cynical 12-year old girl keeps a journal in which she records her observations about her surroundings. No one - not even her family - seem to give her much thought. One review described her as a described as a French, female Holden Caufield, and that description is about right.

The perspective of the book alternates between each of their points of view.

Then, a Japanese man moves into the building, and he begins to notice them.

I liked this book because - who hasn't felt the temptation to fit in, to play down the very aspects of their personality that make them special?

And what a gift it is to be able to see people, not just the stereotype of who they are - but who they really are.

People who like discussions of philosophy, grammar and art will probably like this book.


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