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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 May 2006
This is a wonderful book. It charts the development of a relationship between the speaker and a woman he meets on a flight. Everyone will undoubtedly relate to the different stages of the relationship, from initial uncomfortable exchanges, charged with expectation, to the concern that you are more involved than your object of desire. It's a book that contains moments of high humour and accurately depicts the frustrations, confusions, joy and desolate despair that only romantic entanglement can bring. Neatly suffused with readable and thought provoking asides, this is a fantastic book - read it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This was my second experience of reading Alain de Botton's work (I recently read A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, highly recommended) and for me it was another very enjoyable book. I've not, so far, been much of a philosophical reader and there is much philosophy is this book. I admit that I had to check the meaning of some of the philosophical words that he uses but in the main his writing is accessible and easy to follow. Where I did have to check meaning, I feel that I have learnt more about philosophy. So, not only was the book enjoyable (I'm sure that we will all identify with at least some elements of his descriptions of the journey of a relationship) but it was also a philosophical learning experience for me too.

It feels like a young person's relationship and de Botton did write the book in his 20s. The book is categorised as fiction and even has an alternative title for the US market of "On Love: A Novel" but it is not a novel in the conventional sense. There is an overall story as de Botton charts his relationship with Chloe but at each stage of the relationship he examines the philosophy and inner workings of a relationship. It feels like non-fiction and I wonder how much of the relationship is fictional and how much is based on one or more relationships that de Botton has had in the past.

The numbering of paragraphs seemed odd but it's certainly an engaging read and I would recommend it.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2002
This really is the most increible book. Charting a relationship from start to finish, the author manages to capture the heart of human relationships with amazing insight.
The novel is so true to life that I found myself mirrored within the pages of the novel and I am sure I am not the only one.
This book is wonderful, truly. If you are contemplating buying one of Alain de Botton's novels, start with this one.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2001
This is one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. It will no doubt remain my breaking up bible. Alain de Botton captures the thoughts that each and every one of us have when we find someone, fall in love and lose them. It reminds us there is hope and that we are not alone. More than this though it is honestly a fantastic book, just to read, and to enjoy
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2005
Alain de Botton's 'Essays in Love' is a thought-provoking masterpiece in the description of western society's most powerful emotion. The analysis of the stages of his love affair with Chloe are fresh in viewpoint and full of the dissection needed to conquer such an emotive topic without ever becoming suffocatingly sickly. If you've ever fallen in love and have wondered whether feelings of inadequacy are unique then you should read this. It combines a beautifully penned introduction to European philosophy with a thorough scrutiny of love that will provide a real truth to an experience often impossible to analyse on a personal basis. I loved this book almost as much as the woman who recommended it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2009
Alain De Botton is never less than an interesting writer and this book is no exception. However, it is comfortably my least favourite of his books because I can relate to it least. All writing about love is, to a certain extent, subjective, but in this case I find it hard to relate to De Botton's thoughts, feelings and reactions because they are so different from my own experience, which is not of relationships where there are major rows and patchings up, but of a greater degree of tolerance and compromise leading to a smoother ride, even through break up (although the pain of break up is not to be underestimated!). This book is worth reading because De Botton is very good at analysing each stage of his relationship with Chloe and it is fascinating to see Botton's character laid down in detail. But, in his other books I have always been able to take away a lot of points that are useful to my own life, or which make me think about things in a new way, which is not the case here. I wonder whether De Botton would have written a very different book today, at the age of 40, than when this was written in his early 20's?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 1999
The title doesn't exactly give it away, but de Botton's novel owes much to Stendhal's "Love". A charmingly told tale of falling in and out of love, it combines the erudition that de Botton has made part of his style (especially in "How Proust Can Change Your Life") with a modern romance told with humour and grace. Reviewed like this, it doesn't sound that impressive - but read "Essays in Love" and you'll soon be grabbing at everything else this brilliant young author has written - I did, and I've yet to be disappointed by him.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2010
This is a lovely book - I have bought it again & again for my young teenagers and their friends... It's a delightful way to explore yourself and your take on life. It applies to and validates the experiences of each unique individual. It encourages free-thinking & introspection, without making a meal of it. And it's an enjoyable read - really well written!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2007
Alain de Botton's first book is a mixture of novel and essay, charting the development and disintegration of a love affair. Whilst the book would probably fail as a novel - there is little plot, and the characters and the scenarios in which they are placed serve only to illustrate de Botton's philosophical musings on the many aspects of love, it succeeds as an easily accessible, thought-provoking, often amusing and original work. The author writes clearly, engagingly and with wit and intelligence. Recommended.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2005
i first read this book by accident 3 years ago when it picked me in the library!!! A philosohical journey through the peaks and troughs of love and all that it brings.beautifully written ,raw in parts it stirred up a myriad of emotions from sadness to mirth, from despair to hope. some of it frightened me to death (love can sometimes be transparent and fickle). This book was soo very personal too me i never recommended it to anyone else for fear they would not enjoy the beauty of not just the written words , but that which remains unspoken. recently i did recommend it to someone i" marshmallow" and sure enough he loved it. its not everybodys read mind , one of those dolly mixture books either u love it or u dont!!!! and we all have our favourite bits.!!!
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