Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy

Every year there is a list of summer reads in the local newspapers. These books are always called "Beach Reads." I laugh at the name because it implies we all have time to sit around at the beach and devour novels. At the same time, I'm jealous because I know some people really do work their way through the list.

This year, I am proud to say I finished my summer reading list. There was only one book on it, so I'm pretty much ahead of the game. A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig might be called chick-lit, but I think that title does the book a disservice. Most of the time I think of chick-lit as the "I cannot survive without a man" genre. This book doesn't fall into that trap.

The story of Susannah, a sophomore philosophy major, is set on a 1970s college campus. It explores the gender politics of the time by exploring the issues all women have been faced with throughout the ages. Susannah has a sophisticated older boyfriend and a challenging college major, so life should be set, right? She finds herself attracted to a fellow student, who is the complete opposite of her boyfriend. Life-altering changes cause her to examine everything she believes in using the great European philosophers for guidance with her distinctly female problems.

What makes A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy sound real is that the author writes really interesting narration. Her words are directed towards an intelligent audience. She makes the assumption we "get it" without having to explain every issue and emotion. Greig also adds a touch of humor in unexpected places for a completely enjoyable read.

Whether you already have a summer reading list or you are just starting to think about it, be sure to add A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy as to the list. It's well-worth the time spent.

1 comment:

Lana said...

I liked that the author didn't talk down to her audience as well. Even better she actually spent some time introducing the readers to various philosophers without making it seem like a Da Vinci Code style info-dump!

I enjoyed your review, so I've linked to you here.