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Customer Review

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not uninteresting but limited, 13 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Essays In Love (Paperback)
This is neat exploration of romantic love in the 21st century (though its modernity is coloured by rather conservative, conformist notion of interaction). AdB is a bright guy and he realises that the book asks more questions than it answers (it would wouldn't it?) and is intended as material for debate (internal? shared?). He is not trying to solve the problem nor write a self-help book, a seducer's manual or a `get over your man' Cosmo diatribe. There are drawbacks: stylistically, he's hardly Proust; the numbering of paragraphs is noisome - it's not as if he refers to, say, `$60 above' which would be more systematic; the (lightly borne) philosophy is not really the right one (Kierkgaard, Nietzsche, Plotinus would be superior helpmates to ones he cites); and the `novelistic' side of the lover's tale is sometimes cloying (a man who `doesn't notice' a strategically placed mirror in a bedroom!! They have such interesting friends, deary! he's `socially superior' to her, etc. etc.)... still there are observations here that are worth digging for, especially for an adolescent reader starting out, as it were, and thinking he has gone nuts. Others might try Adam Philips...or better Tolstoy and Proust.
The great limitation? Well, I think there are more differences with respect to romantic love between men and women than it is fashionable to advance today and de Botton almost totally ignores the woman's side of the story. You might say, well, of course it's by and about a man - but men are not totally precluded from seeing the feminine (ugh?) point of view and this AdB singularly fails to attempt. Is there a book out there that does, but not in the `he betrayed me, the cad' school of wimmin's writing that dominates the shelves...?
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Location: oxford

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