Janet's Reviews > The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
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Oct 07, 07

Recommended for: children over 12, imaginative adults
Read in September, 2007

What an amazing book! I first head about Philip Pullman in a review of the Narnia books several years ago. The writer compared the "His Dark Materials" trilogy favorably to C.S. Lewis's works. In contrast to Lewis' Christian ideology, Pullman's fictional world was said to be feminist, sex-positive, and deeply concerned with navigating the dangers and blessings of "experience" -- in other words, celebrating a child's passage into awareness and adulthood.

Because of the review I actually gave these books to several friends as gifts before I started to to read them myself. I'm sorry I waited so long. The Golden Compass is a beautiful, magical story with original and vivid fantasy elements. But what makes it so powerful is the way it formulates real-world concerns about religion and theocracy and deeper questions about the nature of knowledge and its relation to the human soul. The novel ends with fascinating and open-ended questions about original sin -- whether it exists, and if so, whether the concept is actually a misinterpretation of natural and desirable condition. It's an amazing set of questions to stumble across in a children's book.

I'm looking forward to the film adaptation this Christmas, and I'm now reading the second novel in the series, The Subtle Knife. Highly recommended!
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sandy a great book... i look forward to the follow up books and the movie! thanks janet!!


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