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on 15 January 2017
This was one of the best books I've read. I read it months ago and I'm still thinking about it. I highly recommend this - de Botton takes us through the philosophical implications of love through framing them in a story narrative. It's a wonderful way of thinking about things - although this may be considered 'pop philosophy' or 'pulp philosophy', I found it very exciting and relatable. I found each of my love stories in the philosophical story de Botton presents. I have recommended this book to anyone I have found struggling in terms of love. It's a beautiful reminder of what is possible, and how to take a break up, whilst also consolidating some truths on what it means to be in love and feel those first frissons of attraction.
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on 10 May 2017
Such a great thought-provoking book. Alain, even at such a young age, was a witty, sensitive and inspiring writer. I have read this loads of times and will keep reading this for many years to come I'm sure.
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on 23 August 2017
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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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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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on 20 August 2016
Took a bit to begin to read it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 January 2010
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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on 5 August 2016
I am afraid I was disappointed... The Course of Love, the author's latest book, is much better and makes the same points. Still, it is unbelievable that de Botton had such a mature voice at the age of twenty two. His books have changed my life.
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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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I have read most of De Botton's works and this to me is, quite unquestionably, my favourite. But it's not just for De Botton fans, by any means...

All of us who have known what it is to love another, and be loved, will find much of brilliance in De Botton's incisive commentary. Indeed, if Essays In Love were music, it would be the definitive soundtrack to modern romance - perfectly echoing to rise and fall of every meaningful relationship between significant others; & more particularly of those whose moment was not exactly destined for eternal bliss.

I must also admit to having owned more than one copy as each time I've bought Essays In Love, a 'friend' has 'borrowed' it and, well..., let's just say that in the said process, consigned my ownership to modern history. Ah well, perhaps it's just as well that my circle of friends is diminishing with age! Nonetheless, I have now no reservations, at all, in buying another copy to treasure for years to come. And so should you: utterly brilliant!
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