Customer Review

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody is this snobby, 25 May 2010
This review is from: The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Paperback)
The central premise of this book is deeply flawed in my view, unless French society operates on entirely different rules to that of the rest of the world. I just didn't understand why the concierge cared a jot if people managed to find out she was intelligent?

If you 'caught' a poorly paid public employee in the act of reading Tolstoy - wwyd? Phone the police? Alert the media? I kept pondering this throughout the book. I also wondered why she seemed surprised when her employers treated her like an employee, or why she seemed surprised they didn't seem to like her very much, when she went out of her way to be as terse and businesslike with them as possible. She deliberately put rubbish daytime telly on in her flat so that they would think that was what she watched, then despised them for believing it. Meanwhile she leapt to the most hostile opinions possible of everybody else's tiniest actions, for instance the angle at which one of her employers held her door open at.

It was all 'everybody else's fault', ie she had got this bizarre idea in her head that everybody thought she was stupid so she had to pretend she was (why???) and of course anybody with money in the book was a baddie, apart from the richest man of all, who got a free pass to acceptability by being Japanese and liking Tolstoy. How utterly tiresome.

As for the poor little rich 13 year old who thought her family were her enemies because they enjoyed shopping, I wanted to strangle her.

I award 3 stars because the book - though completely and deliberately impenetrable at times - did have some wee gems tucked in. I did crack a smile at the 13 year old describing her upstairs neighbour as 'so conservative he won't say hello to divorced people', and there were other lines like this.

I skipped some of the denser stuff on Art and Philosophy - after all, I'm only on an average wage, I'm not expected to read stuff like that - and I agree with the reviewer who was reminded of Adrian Mole by all of the self obsessed angsting.

How does this stuff end up on the bestseller lists, that is the philosophical question.
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