Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, tis August already?

Oh goodness. Where did the summer go? I have less than a month to do all my summer work and do random things.

But I also want to do a book review. Over in Michigan I bought a book, and I LOVED it. It isn't my kind of book that I would normally read, but it was pretty sweet. Thus, let the review begin.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog


Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Inside Flap:

We are in an elegant hotel particulier in the center of Paris. Renee, the building's concierge, is short, ugly, and plump. She has bunions on her feet. She is cantankerous and addicted to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. In short, she is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood. But Renee has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants - her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth. 


Then there's Paloma, a super-smart twelve-year-old and the youngest daughter of the Josses, who live on the fifth floor. Talented, precocious, and startlingly lucid, she has come to terms with life's seeming futility and has decided to end her own on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity, acting the part of an average pre-teen high on pop subcluture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. 


Paloma and Renee hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a new tenant arrives, a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu. He befriends Paloma and is able to see through Renee's timeworn disguise to the mysterious event that has haunted her since her childhood.




This book is very intelligently written, the characters themselves very perspective and obviously smart. You can see with Renee that she is intelligent but hides it quite easily. Paloma is the same, and surprisingly cool-headed about her suicide. She told herself if she could find something that made this world worth living in, she would re-think about her suicide. Paloma is constantly on the look-out for 'movements of the world' and enjoys creating profound thoughts in which she starts each of her chapters with.

The reason of and 8.5 is because the only downsides of The Elegance of the Hedgehog is that it was slow to get to the point, and sometimes hard to follow. But in every word you could feel the radiating (yeah, this is a very used word in this review, but I have no other word) intelligence of the characters.

The setting is in France I would suppose due to the French references and such. And thought I'm not a particular fan of France, I enjoyed this novel.

I really recommend this book for those who can soak up a lot at one time and those who can (sorta) decipher what they are talking about with what they think and stuff. These characters think in very elaborate ways. Also for those of you who want a challenging book to read, goodness you'll have a blast with this one.