Who knew that one novel introduced to me via one of my English professors would become one of my favorite books? With a title like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it certainly sounds amusing and like something worth looking at. But why bother reading when we’re surrounded by technology and the newest ‘it’ device? Well I’d advise you pick up this book, sit back, and enjoy reading about a woman and a young girl stuck in a bourgeois society in Paris, France.
Renee is a middle-aged concierge of a middle class apartments complex who appears on the surface to be the average, soap opera watching stereotype that the tenants assume she is. Behind closed doors, she is intellectual and avid about philosophy and art but chooses to hide the truth as a guard. 12 year old Paloma is tired of being surrounded by her rich, presumptuous family and plans to commit suicide on her 13th birthday unless she finds something that is so beautiful in this world that convinces her to live. Their secrets begin to unravel when a new tenant from Japan moves in and befriends both them.
Before you start saying, Oh this is only going to have drama and too many rich snobs I loathe, think again. The novel includes various character backgrounds from the middle class, to the poor, to the hopeless goners, to the brightest of minds. Barbery provides plenty of touching, interesting, and comical moments throughout her book that should satisfy a variety of readers.
Intrigued? Pick up a copy and see for yourself!