Paul's Reviews > In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower by Marcel Proust
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Feb 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010
Read from February 08 to 16, 2010

i finished this book a while ago and have subsequently begun the next volume of in search of lost time but felt the need to think over this book a little more before wrapping up my thoughts on it.

i mentioned in my views on swann's way that proust's strong sense of conveying the process of memory and reflection stood out as easily the strongest part of that first volume. that same strength exists in ITSOYGIF but it's a bit more awkward, i suppose, having gone through the male experience of adolescence. all too many things that i had forgotten about my own thoughts on relationships and (what i presumed was) love came rushing back as the narrator fumbled his way through attempted (and ultimately failed) relationship after relationship.

however, he also helped capture the rush of growing up and beginning to understand your strengths and weaknesses, especially intellectually. while the narrator (which, let's face it, is just proust and this whole thing's an autobiographical novel) suffers through physical ailments during his formative years, he is attracted to (male) friends that stimulate him intellectually. this is in contrast to his attractions toward females, which are altogether more willy-nilly and seemingly at random (or maybe he is just like any other testosterone-fueled teenager and chasing anything that moves).

it'll be interesting to see what happens to the narrators thoughts as he approaches early adulthood, where i myself find myself. i imagine he'll find it just as confusing/terrifying/exciting as i have.

*one other note; can this book truly surprise given its autobiographical nature? granted the prose is beautiful and though-provoking, but even doing a cursory search on proust's life essentially foreshadows the events that occur in the book.
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