The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I read the Elegance of the Hedgehog because my mom told me it was a really good book. Well, my mom thinks all the books in the world are good books, but this time I wanted to trust her. So I started reading the book: the first time, last year, I gave up almost immediately, I don’t know why but I didn’t like it from the very beginning. So I quit and I started another random book. However last week I found the same book in a flea market in Milan and I thought “Oh, it seems so nice, I should read it!”. So I came home, I grasped the book and I started reading. The book was great. I loved it. It’s been so delicate, personal and beautiful.

I found interesting my double and opposite reaction to the same book in two different timeframes. This shows how personal books are and how reading them is influenced by our lives. Depending on our mood and our current situation we can find a book revealing or stupid, smart or nonsense. It all depends on us. So, I came to the simple conclusion that people love books when they reflect their human being in a certain period or when the books are the projection of how people would like to be or live. This is also what happened to me.

In the Elegance of the Hedgehog I loved the importance the characters give to Art and Beauty and Little Things. In my little mind this is is how we should live our life: following and creating works of art, appreciating and creating beauty and enjoying our little moments of happiness. Maybe it’s all an bit naif, but dreaming is costless, right?!

I also really liked the figure of the concierge: I thought it was funny how she wanted to keep a mask and behave like a steretypical angry spinster in order to mock the world around her. In reality she was smart and self-educated: she discovered that art and literature made her life beautiful. The idea is that we are animals, but thanks to literature and art we can improve our condition and let ourselves go. Well, what can I say, she’s totally right!

I don’t know, but I think this book is really deep and thoughful. It is a book that helps to appreciate ourself and appreciate culture. To appreciate love and friendship. To appreciate art and beauty. In three words, to appreciate life.

Giulia

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