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Kiss and Tell [Hardcover]

Alain de Botton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Sep 1995
Setting out to relate the life of someone unknown and intimate with their biographer, this novel charts the life of Isabel, a 25-year-old production assistant from Hammersmith. From the author of "Essays in Love", and "The Romantic Movement".

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First printing. edition (8 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333646304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333646304
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,009,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alain de Botton is the author of Essays in Love (1993), The Romantic Movement (1994), Kiss and Tell (1995), How Proust can Change your Life (1997), The Consolations of Philosophy (2000) The Art of Travel (2002), Status Anxiety (2004) and most recently, The Architecture of Happiness (2006).

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Customer Reviews

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Male Version of Bridget Jones 16 May 1999
By A Customer
Alain de Botton's narration is intellectually entertaining in this biographical account of a woman he ultimately falls for . . . If you enjoyed Bridget Jones's Diary, then you must meet her as a male biographer in Kiss & Tell. Alain's language is very crafty and tastefully hilarious. Pop culture and classical philosophy meets in this comedic celebration of the 90s love life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars on the nature of biography 21 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This book was a hoot! The premise is that a biographer will write a biography about the next person he meets. Turns out to be a 20-something vaguely-flakish opinionated woman who he takes on as first a subject, then a girlfriend. There are hilarious "academic" rusings on the Nature of Biography," all wonderfully warped to accommodate the lovely Isabelle's life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very witty and wise book 15 Mar 1997
By A Customer
Most biographies feature people who are famous or notorious, no acquaintance of their biographer, and dead. Kiss and Tell is a bold and irreverent challenge to these biographical norms, which sets out to chart the life of someone unknown, intimate with their biographer, and still alive. The result is a witty and perceptive portrait of a young woman. Brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reading now 28 Nov 2013
By Catalin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was almost free. And it's hardcover...
I am huge fan of de Botton and i've nothing but good things about this one. I am reading it now and i am very pleased... The idea of writing a biography of an anonymous woman, paying attention to the detail to someone simply to make amends with a careless and egocentric self is just brilliant... I'm really curious how it will all turn out...
He's a great author. Really changes perspective on things. Read him!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Brilliant de Botton Book 10 Sep 1999
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Outstanding fictional examination of how we perceive each other as humans as well as the art and form of biography. The narrator, derided as being self-absorbed, decides to write a biography of the next person he meets. Thus, we are treated to his attempt to do this with "Isabel", a young London woman he meets at a party. De Botton spins it all with a very light, often comic, touch, and yet manages to raise some fairly deep issues relating to how our perceptions of others are formed and shape our actions. Very good stuff which makes me want to find his other work and read it immediately. Fans of "High Fidelity" will likely find this a slightly higher-brow, but very enjoyable book. See also "On Love" and "The Romantic Movement."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing breath of air... 12 May 2002
By Celestejz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Okay, I may have not read the *entire* book, but I did read a spectacular passage from "Kiss and Tell" during my AP Literature and Composition exam. It's not often I grin after reading AP test passages. However, that brief excertp from De Bottom's novel had me grinning and absolutely praising whatever AP God had seen fit to bless me w/ such a delightful passage to write about.
I was so intrigued by the passage, I actually decided to buy the book after I was done. (How often does that happen?)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kiss and Tell? No thrill here... 9 April 2003
By Robert Wellen - Published on Amazon.com
Some of this book is brillant. De Botton thoughts on memory and how we view relationships can be amazing. He also can be funny. I was impressed with many of his ideas. On the other hand, by page 150 or so, I found the constant analysis of biographic form to be grating. I can see why Isabel felt as she did at time (although she is no great woman by any means). Again (as in On Love, a far superior book), we have a nameless narrator and no details on his life. Oh well. It is amusing at times, but not worth the time invested. Alas, I shall fall silent now.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The dangers of dating a writer/philosopher 28 Dec 2002
By Charles S. Houser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After finishing Alain de Botton's biography/novel KISS AND TELL, I found myself hoping on behalf of its putative subject Isabel Jane Rogers that this work is more fiction than fact. Or at least that "Isabel" is a composite of every young woman the author ever dated and not a real individual person. Although de Botton catalogs many of "Isabel's" quirky habits (her poor sense of geography, the way she picks her nose and chews on the callouses on her fingers, etc.), he exhibits enough of his own dubious traits (for instance, he admits letting her plants die unwatered while devouring half a box of her chocolates while house-sitting for her one time) to give us a sense that in some unprovable way, he is at least playing fair.
But under this delicious patina of pettiness, there are a number of more serious subjects. Such as the nature of biography itself. And whether our versions of ourselves are any more reliable than those of an outside observer. The nature of memory. And a comparison of the virtues and liabilities of the fat, detail-obsessed Boswelian biographies versus the "toast-sized", summary-style biographical sketches of an Aubrey. (Anyone who has read--or tried to write--an obituary for a family member will find the chapter "In Search of an Ending" fascinating.) And anyone who is familiar with de Botton's other works will not be surprised how he manages to draw the likes of Marcel Proust, Adam Smith, Frederick Nietzsche, Tolstoy, and Hippocrates into the conversation, as well as zany bits of pop psychology like graphology, palmistry, and magazine personality questionnaires. To support the trope that KISS AND TELL is a real biography, de Botton even provides a 12-page, fully functioning index (complete with entries on "toenails" and "sex.") As a work of fiction, KISS AND TELL isn't nearly as interesting as his earlier novel, ON LOVE, but it is an amusing book...and it will make you think about your own quirks and self-delusions.
5.0 out of 5 stars DeBotton is the best 17 July 2009
By Jerome M. Spector - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kiss & Tell by Alain deBotton is one of the few works of fiction he's published. I ran across his work when I had a client who owned an upscale dating service with a psych practice. I've devoured everything he's written since then. This will appeal to fiction readers who appreciate charm and intelligence along with a good creative story.
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