I have encountered Alain de Botton’s name quite a bit. During my student years his novel ‘How Proust can Change your Life’ was a common sight in student’s hands, especially Philosophy undergrads. I have to admit that at the time I felt that I’d rather delve into the world of fiction as I was studying Philosophy, Theology and Anthropology and I needed a form of escape. The de Botton was seen as a ‘future read’
Well now the time has arrived.
Superficially On Love is a clichéd love story. The narrator of the book meets a girl, they go through some very good times together, they break up and when the narrator faces the fact that he is over the relationship falls in love with another girl.
However this is Alain de Botton and he treats every aspect of love with a Philosophical outlook. Whether he is analysing the first steps of infatuation or the Jesus Complex which occurs after a break up, de Botton has some kind of explanation.
Personally I found this novel fascinating. I wouldn’t say that it changed my life as I did disagree with some of the theories proposed but the whole book is incredibly readable and devoid of the stuffiness that accompanies texts like this. De Botton clearly wants to educate his reader but remembers that he is writing a novel in the process. As long as you don’t treat it as a handbook of love then you have a very entertaining treatise on your hands!