7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 1999
Having gone through the pain of watching a loved one slip away, i was unsure as to whether i should read this book so soon or whether i should wait a while longer. I decided not to wait and i'm very glad i didn't. This book offers an excellent insight into the whole area of terminal illness, primarily from the side of the dying patient but also taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the family of the patient. The character of Cecilia evokes many emotions, of which sorrow and sympathy are just two, but the author manages to achieve this without leaving the reader feeling as though their emotions have been deliberately and cynically manipulated. Gaarder also manages to look in great depth at the problems faced by the family of the dying patient, such as how to talk to them and treat them and whether the patient should be told they're dying (or if in fact they already know). Magical, insightful and entirely believable -without ever being mushy or sentimental, this book had me in floods of tears on more than one occasion, and i would not hesitate to recommend it to anybody else.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2002
I was initially a bit reluctant to read the story, after a friend had recommended it to me, because I thought it would be a bit dry. However, it is actually completely the opposite, you get caught up in the story straight away and the end is very emotional because of this.
The story is about a girl who is visited by an angel. They start to talk about love, death and what it is to be human.
Though not as long as Sophie's World or The Solitaire Mystery, it is just as enjoyable a book.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2004
If you are comparing this book to the breadth of Sophies World, then you will be suprised.It is entirely unlike it.
This book reads with childlike simplicity, having a storyline to match. However, if the reader has the capacity and feeling to look inside and within the simplicity, they will be rewarded with a few cameo's of depth and inspiration, together with exploring, and expecting (!), a little part of childlike imagination, that should always remain forever within us all.
I have never, ever cried over a book. I did this one.
If you want a book to involve you with such simplicity and ignite feeling, then this is worth a read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2003
Whilst being a simplistic book, in terms of being easily readable by children, the idea and the way they are presented are accessible to all readers. It is a highly enjoyable way of getting into the authors work, most of which is brilliant and a lovely way to become introduced to philosophy. Although it is a sad book, it is still highly optomistic and the vehicle used to express the ideas, through a dying girl, works very well. A very enjoyable book.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2001
I found this book in an antique shop not long after my best friend's mum died of cancer and thought it might be of some comfort to her (and myself as I lost my mother to the disease too). I took it home and read it to my boyfriend in bed. Although it may be simply written (which means a child can enjoy the story), there are lots of thought provoking statements provided by the Angel Ariel, and like Cecillia and other readers, I too wrote them in my diary. It really is a moving story and both my boyfriend and I were deeply moved by its wonderful ending, depicting death as freeing, peaceful and beautiful. I personally believe in Guardian Angels and I truly hope that the end comes in the form of an angel like Ariel. I can't wait for my friend to read this book. We like to think of our mothers looking down on us and guiding us through life. It made me smile to think they may have been comforted by a personal angel as they prepared to leave this life. Maybe, just maybe, they are flying through space on an asteroid with Ariel and co!! Who knows?! This book really is a must for everyone, but especially those who have lost someone dear to them. It's lovely and it offers hope.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2012
With an almost child-like, old-fashioned simplicity, Through A Glass Darkly is beautifully spiritual, philosophical, insightful and sentimental and yet never mushy.
The story of a young terminally ill girl (Cecilia) who, one Christmas, is befriended by an angel (Arial) the story is complex in so far as it takes a look at what it is to be human whist at the same time exploring life after death which though never overtly 'preachy' is told from a fairly religious point on view that might not appeal to everyone.
The sign of a good writer that they can awaken so many emotions, provoke so many reactions, I thought the author did a particularly good job with Cecilia in that on the one hand (despite/because of her illness?) I found her to be a bit of an unlikeable spoilt brat and yet on the other I felt so much compassion for her and not just because of her illness.
A great read for older children/teenagers, as an adult reading this I felt that some of the issues could have been explored more thoroughly, this is never the less a wonderfully thought provoking, in many ways, life affirming novel.
Through A Glass, Darkly
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 1999
I have read and enjoyed Sophie's world but was delighted to find that in contrast this book is far easier reading. It is a simple story that has complex messages and inspires much thought completely regardless of whether you believe in a 'heaven and earth'. There were several 'one liners' that were so beautiful I wrote them down for keep sake eg "to be born is to be given the whole world as a gift" It gives a feeling that death, while so sad, can be so peaceful. An unusual but well worthwhile read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2008
I could review this book in just one word: wow.
It's exquisite, breath taking, thought provoking, sentimental, heart warming - do I sound like a cliche? I mean every single word!
I had to take a train to a meeting yesterday - the journey took just over an hour and a half and in that time I read this book from cover to cover. At 161 pages its not a particularly long book - but I have a feeling that if I hadn't finished it by the time I reached my stop I would have just stayed on board until I did.
This is the story of Cecilia; a young girl who lies ill in bed as her family celebrate Christmas downstairs, in the knowledge that Cecilia will not live to see another Christmas. I don't know how old Cecilia is, or what illness she has, but it didn't seem important. That's not the focus of the novel - it's about the interactions between Cecilia and her angel; a 'boy' by the name of Ariel who likes to talk about life and death and the differences between Heaven and Earth, angels and humans.
The conversations between Cecilia and her angel, and the interactions with her family subtly change as time passes, from feeling anger and denial, to hope and despair, as Cecilia finally reaches a calm acceptance of what will happen to her.
This novel is unlike anything I've ever read before, it made me think about so many things, about our bodies and our health and our families and the things we take for granted. About the differences between Heaven and Earth and whether there really are such things as angels.
This is a really difficult novel to review - the only thing I can say is - lay your hands on a copy, set aside a couple of hours, curl up in a chair and experience it for yourself.
Oh and make sure you pick up Through a Glass, Darkly by Jostein Gaarder - it seems to be a popular book title for quite a few authors!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 1999
Although I was fascinated by the philosphical content of Gaarder's most famous book, I have yet to finish Sophie's World, annoyed with repetition of the story line. However, I was intrigued by the back cover synopsis of Through a Glass, Darkly. The story is centered around the last few weeks of a dying girl, Cecilia, who believes that she will recover, and refuses to accept her fate. She is visited by Ariel, an angel. What follows is a trade of information on what it means to each to be human or a heavenly creature. Cecilia, through the philosophical debates, learns to accept her illness and also help her family to do the same. In what could easily become a sentimental story, Gaarder uses the storyline to illustrate his reasons, not for the existence of a God, but for how he perceives the world and heaven to be. You do not have to believe in a god in order to appreciate and understand the philisophy. Personally I liked the story because it is rare that a book can evoke the memories and beliefs that some of us had when we were children and less cynical. More than that though, the logical arguments he uses throughout are sensible and one closes the book believing that everything makes sense. I was also filled with a sense of amazement about the world. It also reminded me of why I enjoyed reading the more challenging Sophie's World, and accordingly, I have started it again. If flowery narratives are what you want then this is not for you. If you want to remove the shades from your innermost thoughts then this book will help you do it. Jostein Gaarder sketches his characters very lighlty and this allows us to step into Cecilia's character and see something of ourselves. Almost like looking into a mirror, darkly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2007
i first read this book as a 15 year old. i have read it several times since and the words and imagery still engulf me now. through a glass darkly explores life, death, and the universe in a wonderful way. it is a tale told in a gentle way, there is no need for sensationalism, the story is beautiful. it is simple yet thought provoking, it is accessible to readers of all ages. as i get older and read it again, i think more and more about the words on the page and their meanings. each time i feel something different. read it.