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Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  9,123 ratings  ·  714 reviews
A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly ra ...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published January 1st 1958)
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Ayana_ Yes, for all intents and purposes, this is a clean book for teens. But it does contain philosophical questions that you might want to take a look at b…moreYes, for all intents and purposes, this is a clean book for teens. But it does contain philosophical questions that you might want to take a look at before your child reads this book: faith and the existence of God, the purpose of man on Earth, etc.

I find it a "food-for-thought" book, although not necessarily a volume that can cause irreparable harm. It does touch on several philosophical currents of the time, and if the reader does not have the required knowledge, he/she is just left with the pleasant reading (although much more could be taken out of this great book).

I hope my answer helps.(less)

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Steven Godin
“…but all day long I would be training myself to think, to understand, to criticize, to know myself; I was seeking for the absolute truth: this preoccupation did not exactly encourage polite conversation.”

Paris, 1908, and Simone de Beauvoir enters the world.
Born into a bourgeois family this beautifully deep and intimate account of one girls journey into early womanhood is both a fascinating and intelligent read. From her young spirited days as a child, to an intricate student life where literat
...more
Joe Valdez
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
My introduction to the writing of Simone de Beauvoir is the first of several memoirs she wrote. Published in 1958, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter takes place during the Great War and the postwar years, with de Beauvoir an intellectually ravenous, morally prudish and eternally questioning teenage daughter of a bourgeois family in Paris. Lit with tremendous desire, but, as a child of privilege, very little drama, I related to her life immediately. My childhood in suburban Houston of the 1980s was f ...more
Manny
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be careful of those quiet, nerdy-looking teenage girls, they may grow up to become famous authors. Here's Simone listening to her parents' friends (my translation):
Ils lisaient et ils parlaient de leurs lectures. On disait: "C'est bien écrit mais il y a des longueurs." Ou bien: "Il y a des longueurs, mais c'est bien écrit." Parfois, l'œil rêveur, la voix subtile, on nuançait: "C'est curieux" ou d'un ton plus sévère: "C'est spécial."

They read, and they talked about what they'd been reading. They
...more
Jan-Maat
I was reading Simon Schama's Citizens about the French revolution, I had got up to the storming of the Bastille, and I thought I'd step back and take a break by reading de Beauvoir's memoirs of her childhood. Goodness what a shock, Schama paints a picture of France on the eve of revolution in which you might struggle to find a priest who believes in God, where disrespect for the royal family is near universal, the ideas of Rousseau and the classical world as an ideal were on all minds, here de B ...more
Kristen
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites, biography
I loved this book so much any review will be wholly inadequate. I loved is how she captures the innocence of childhood and the pains her parent took to maintain that innocence far beyond what seems right. I loved the confusion, despair and vanity of adolescences and how she could feel so strongly about ideals that themselves constantly changed. I loved how her idea of self was in constant flux and the richness of her inner life. I love how books meant just so much to her, and all those descripti ...more
Cheryl Kennedy
"I was born at four o'clock in the morning on the ninth of January 1908, in a room fitted with white-enameled furniture and overlooking the Boulevard Raspail. In the family photographs taken the following summer there are ladies in long dresses and ostrich feather hats and gentlemen wearing boaters and panamas, all smiling at a baby: they are my parents, my grandfather, uncles, aunts; and the baby is me. My father was thirty, my mother twenty-one, and I was their first child."

And later, there wa
...more
Gabrielle
The other day, I was waiting for my husband to meet me for dinner, and I had plenty of time to kill so, I went to read at a nearby coffee shop. I had been sitting there for a few minutes when it hit me that I was drinking espresso whilst reading Simone de Beauvoir (in French!!) and listening to Bob Dylan on my iPod. This moment couldn’t have been any snootier if I had tried… that is, until I started laughing – at myself – out loud, to the other patrons’ confusion. I felt I was only missing a ber ...more
Luís C.
In the early twentieth century, a family of the Parisian middle class, rises Simone. When very small, is rebellious and has sudden onset of irritation. Then when he gives to religious faith, calms and becomes an example of student and daughter. But still young sees the incongruities of the Catholic religion, and his intellectual formation takes another turn. This course culminates in the adoption of existentialist philosophy and involvement in controversial causes like abortion advocacy. In Memo ...more
Emily
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short of it: From the opening pages I fell head over heels for Memoires d'une jeune fille rangée (translated into English as Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter but more literally "Memoirs of a well-behaved girl"), the first of four volumes in de Beauvoir's autobiography. It's been a long time since I connected with a book at such a level of visceral sympathy—since I had the feeling "Yes! That's what it's like for me too!," since I felt such a sense of loss upon turning a final page. So there may ...more
M.rmt
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great great lifestory of a great great writer
Jonfaith
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would crack between my teeth the candied shell of an artificial fruit, and a burst of light would illuminate my palate with a taste of blackcurrant or pineapple: all the colours, all the lights were mine, the gauzy scarves, the diamonds, the laces; I held the whole party in my mouth.

Living in Indiana, mass transit remains a topic left of center. Sure we have a bus system but nothing further. Such is dreams of those elites who want to undermine something core, something both pure and competiti
...more
Ophelia.Desdemona
I have developed a crush on Simone. What an incredible woman. What a brain. Even from early childhood her intelligence shows. Her courage, her strength. I truly find her so interesting.

Also, at times, she made feel like a useless shit. I think of her struggles she had to go through to get her knowledge and independence and I have all of that for free and what have I done with my life?
But of course she also inspires a great deal.

I didn't know she was so religious actually, that came as a shock. I
...more
Aubrey
Well written discourses on growing up are amazing. The clarity with which the author described her years from infancy to childhood and beyond was astonishing; it was as if the babies in Mary Poppins had retained the eloquent speech which they used to discourse with birds and other nonhuman entities. It made for some serious misunderstandings on my part at the beginning though, as I was originally very annoyed with Simone at the beginning of her life. Her tantrums and her taking of her blessed li ...more
Justine
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Update 23/5/19

More 4.5 stars

Still moved by the end, and still kind of "strange" to feel close to Simone, to see similitudes between the two of us!
__________________

I thought this book was more like the beginning of an autobiography than a memoir. For me, a memoir implies historical events, and thoughts about them; here, Simone de Beauvoir focuses on herself, her life, her studies, her friends, and doesn't really "speak" about her political thoughts.

I love Zaza, and could really feel the love o
...more
Sam
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I literally picked this book up after seeing it fall (get thrown?) out of a second story apartment window on Farwell. I wish more books would get thrown out of windows and land at my feet...
El
A little over a year ago, I read Simone de Beauvoir's 1949 tome, The Second Sex. The feminist text covers so much ground from biology to philosophy, and it's not a book for the weak. It's a commitment, but one I feel everyone should make at some point in their lives.

I've had Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter on my shelf for years, after having picked it up in a used bookstore in Baltimore several moons ago. It's the first book in her autobiographical series and thus covers her early years - her youn
...more
gwayle
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, favorites
I don't think I've ever read anything that so wonderfully captures the intellectual development of a smart young woman, especially that period when you simultaneously overestimate and underestimate yourself, when the stakes are so high that a word of praise will inflate your ego to monstrous proportions and a word criticism--even if it's well-meant and constructive--will fling you into paroxysms of despair. One moment you think you're the smartest person ever to walk the face of the earth; from ...more
Judy
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Smart women and open minded men
I looked forward to this first volume of Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography with much anticipation, but had no idea how wonderful it would be. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter covers the first twenty-three years of her life beginning with her earliest childhood memories. I loved the way she explained the early tantrums that came over her whenever adults attempted to block her efforts to act in an independent, self-realized fashion. Apparently she was born with the sense that she was an individual w ...more
Geoff
Mar 29, 2012 marked it as to-read
There are times I'm out with the significant other, and we're meeting people, other couples, in social-type situations, and we do the rounds, and I find myself in conversation with another couple or sets of couples, people I'm just meeting, and when I walk away I find myself thinking "how can that elegant, intelligent, beautiful woman be with such a boring, boorish, douche of a man?" I'm fairly confident that is how I'm going to feel about de Beauvoir and Sartre.
Domhnall
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This autobiography of a remarkable woman takes her through her childhood and up to the completion of her education. It is populated with a cast of characters for whom we learn to care, providing a lively story and a sense of unfolding progress towards a close in which many plot lines are resolved with great style. Along the way, beautiful descriptive writing and excellent narrative skills sustain interest and contain more than enough tension, surprise and suspense to make this a most enjoyable r ...more
Carolyn
Jan 12, 2010 rated it did not like it
Another bargain basement find, this book was painfully boring. Most memoirs I've read are full of personal anecdotes, colorful characters, and a broad spectrum of emotion while this was like reading 300 pages of which authors Simone de Beauvior liked and disliked. Perhaps I would have gleaned more from this memoir had I had any inkling as to who de Beavior was before buying this book, but even after doing some biographical research, I found this memoir to be nothing but dry personal facts. If I ...more
cansu m
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
life changing tbh. this memoir is about simone de b's adolescent life, which means it's full of #relatablecontent. except she's a super genius feminist trailblazer and her brain and zest for knowledge frightens me. this book also contains: youthful crushing on garbage boys, walking around paris and that bit where she can't stop talking about how much she ships jo and laurie. i've already started the second volume of her memoirs and tbh i'm hopeful that she'll give an explanation as to why she fi ...more
Richard Lowenstein
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely vivid and engrossing account of how growing up amongst constant oral & literary stimulation creates minds & characters the likes of which we may never see again.. Instead of handing kids iPads so they can play Angry Birds, we used to hand them books.. An important prelude to the world that led her to the writing of the Second Sex.. ...more
Shoug
Any woman can relate to Simone's diaries!
Eleanor
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Simone de Beauvoir is an original bad ass motherfucker.
I want her and Satre. Polygamously.
Joshie
The first volume of de Beauvoir's memoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, is both distressing and fascinating. An account of her childhood to early adulthood: from her Catholic upbringing to her abandonment of religious sentiments and confinements ad nauseam in exchange of at times depressing, second-guessing journey to the eye-opening comforts of Philosophy.

Brought up in a bourgeois family restricted both by religion and expected gender roles, de Beauvoir was perceptive and insightful, her ques
...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
Simone de Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, non-fiction, and although I have not read The Second Sex since college, she stands out as being one of the great feminists of all time, who furthered women's rights more than most. For all of this I admire and respect her. I'm going back and rereading The Second Sex because I remember liking it years ago. Her Memoirs, however, I just did not enjoy. I like reading in her own words what her upbringing was like but the inclusion of every single detail, every ...more
Claire
Though it took me more than a month to finish this, I enjoyed DeBeavoir's incredibly clear perceptions of her own childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, as she first becomes the little girl her parents and society expect her to be, then struggles in the discomfort of coming to understand her own discordant views that don't always fit and increasingly are the opposite to that which she has tried to be to please others, until the latter pages when she begins to find her like-minded others, th ...more
Megha Chakraborty
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading Beauvoir was always on my wishlist, this is my first time reading her and I am spellbound. In Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, the feminist philosopher and author Simone de Beauvoir eloquently writes about so many feelings and experiences that seem beyond words. She will make you think hard, she will make you ask questions about such basic beliefs which we take for granted.
For me, her transition from a God-fearing young girl to an atheist beautiful woman is just beautiful.
The book is rel
...more
Andrew
A bejeweled memoir by one of the brightest minds of the 20th Century, from her youth to her meeting of Jean-Paul Sartre, whom she clearly considered to be OMG-that-guy at the party when she was younger, and her slow, steady exit from the bullshit expectations of bougie prewar French society. Don't expect anything groundbreaking here -- it's not -- but it is an exceptional look into the life of an exceptional person (BTW, the bits about her parents are very shady and very funny).
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Simone de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, political and social issues, essays, biographies, and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including "She Came to Stay" and "The Mandarins", and for her 1949 treatise "The Second Sex", a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary ...more

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