The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, 326 pages
Dewey's Book Challenge
This was an adorable little book set in Paris and nearly all the action takes place in an apartment building. The concierge, Renee, is one of the main narrators, and she notices and observes the difference in the classes, intellectually and culturally. She does her best to hide her true intellect and adopt the stance of a lower class worker. One of the residents is a precocious twelve year old girl, Paloma, who thinks the same kind of thoughts, and it also in a very unhappy place in her life. She is chronicling her Profound Thoughts and Beautiful Movements in the world. When a new resident moves into the apartment building, a kindred spirit to both, their outlooks begin to change.
There is one chocolate Florentine left, which I nibble out of greediness, with my front teeth, like a mouse. If you change the way you crunch into something, it is like trying something new.
What I liked: the characters were touching, if a tad pretentious. The little plot twists were gentle, as was the whole book, and there may have been a little tear on my cheek at the ending.
I also liked the very short, titled chapters, which kept my interest. I like when chapters get their own title too.
What I didn't like: the philosophy paragraphs went on a bit too much, but were easy to skim over and for those more inclined, they could be interesting. I was more interested in the characters themselves. I couldn't help but think of Gilead, a similar reflective book full of ideas that bored me to tears, and yet Hedgehog was very cute when I read around the philosophy.
I smeared my lips with 1 layer of 'Deep Carmine' lipstick that I had bought 20 years ago for a cousin's wedding. The longevity of such a useless item, when valiant lives are lost every day, will never cease to confound me. I belong to the 8% of the world population who calm their apprehension by drowning it in numbers. (page 301)
I had this on 7 day loan from the library which always worries me, but I had no problem getting though the 326 pages, with 3 days to spare.
also reviewed by:
Gwen Dawson at lit license, caribousmom, Boston Bibliophile,
, Jenny’s Books , Musings ,