Thursday, July 2, 2009

review: a girl's guide to modern european philosophy by charolotte greig

For one reason or another, I fell in love with A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy on the very first page. Some books are just like that for me, but I can never explain why. I suppose I should make a list of them and compare those first pages in an attempt to find the answer.

The setting is the mid-70s, but I didn’t realize that at first (vinyl is popular again, so I just figured Jason loved the warmth of vinyl); the story does go on to mention events that solidify it as the 70s, but the overall plot could absolutely happen today. Susannah is a university student in Sussex, but isn’t into living the student life. She frequently escapes campus to the apartment she shares with her older boyfriend, Jason. However, as the term goes on and Jason is increasingly unavailable, Susannah becomes interested in one of her classmates. Not long after the affair with Rob begins, a doctor’s visit reveals Susannah is pregnant. She uses her philosophical studies to try to decide what to do about pregnancy.

While I do think the book is absolutely amazing, there is one part toward the beginning that threw me a bit and left me wondering about it for the rest of the book. The first time Susannah goes home with Rob, she meets his roommates. One sings a song with the lyrics, “I’ll be your lover man, any way that I can.” Susannah is dismissive of the song, but it immediately reminded me of Loverman by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (and covered by Metallica). I kept thinking there must be some connection, but the song was never brought up again.

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