Sophie's World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I have never read a book like Sophie's World. The way plot and theme are combinedand expressed makes this book unique. It is a mystery, but not in theconventional sense. There are no murderers or crooks - the only bad guys areignorance and closed minds. And the mystery does not focus on one sleight of handor human deception: it is a mystery questioning the universe, and the position ofhumans in it.

Sophie Amundsen's life is suddenly changed when she receivesanonymous philosophical questions in the mail. "Who are you?" one asks."Where did the world come from?" wonders another. Soon she is taking aphilosophical correspondence course with an unknown tutor.

Gaarderwrites, "Who had jolted Sophie out of her everyday existence and suddenlybrought her face to face with the great riddles of the universe?" Thesequestions begin a book which is more than mere entertainment: it is also atextbook on philosophy, brilliantly expressed in such a way to be absorbing andeasily understood.

Each chapter chronologically recounts the developmentof philosophical thought, beginning with descriptions of Socrates and Aristotle,and ending with the main thoughts that emerged in the 20th century. In this book,the reader is able to get a larger view of philosophy, how ideas branched off anddeveloped with time, even see its effects on themselves and their society.

This book can be approached in different ways. It is on one hand thestory of a few individual lives, and on the other a philosophy textbook. Seeingit only as the story of Sophie Amundsen brings little satisfaction, but regardingit only as a reference on philosophy does not fulfill its purpose. To me, itstheme is an expression of people's propensity to become caught up in their dailylives and lose the desire to question. And though the characters seemtwo-dimensional at times, I viewed them as tools of the writer, commenting onwhat Gaarder saw in the world.

Sophie's World is really good for a readerwho is just beginning to be interested in philosophy. It's broad, and as abeginner on the topic, I found it easy to follow. Reading it was a wonderfulexperience, and has encouraged me to study philosophy more.

The mysteryaspect does wear thin rather early, and though the end is not as climactic as I'dhoped, it is definitely worth a read. It will change the way you think aboutyourself and the world you live in.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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afagfdhw said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm
i love this book i think i will read it again
 
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