On Love.

11:46 PM

On LoveOn Love by Alain de Botton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating: 5 stars

I picked this book up out of a whim, while I was browsing in my local bookstore. I have not heard much about this one, though I think it should be pretty famous seeing as it is an international bestseller. Though there is virtually ZERO hype on this. Well, at least none that I am aware of. What drew me to this book is the interesting way it was written. I read the first chapter and immediately ran to the counter to purchase it 'cos it is definitely far from the cliche love stories we are so used to reading.

Basically, we follow a couple's relationship from the moment they met, fall in love and their development through the course of time. The voice of the protagonist is the guy in the relationship, who is deeply in love with Chloe, the girl. The two met by chance on a flight back to London and were sitting side by side. Upon striking up a conversation, the two hit it off and our protagonist ultimately fell for her almost immediately. They became a couple and we chart their progress through the protagonist's intelligent and philosophical perspective.

What is so incredibly different about this book is the way it is written. It's written in different relationship phases and in topical form with numbered paragraphs, reminiscent of a textbook of some kind (but definitely not as dull as one). And here, the author combines political and greek philosophical theories with the abstract concept of "Love" in hopes of figuring out the dynamics of couples and mapping out the course of the journey into love. As a political science major, I find it extremely enlightening that theories such as Marxism, Freudian concepts, Communism and Kant's, can be used in very basic, human and artistic concepts such as Love and Life. The author is also creepily spot-on in his observations of couples in love. There are so many insights here that made me go, "Whoooa~ That is SO true!". We tend to forget that Love, although governed dominantly by emotions and the heart, is also significantly influenced by the mind and general human thought. And the author is brilliant in his psychoanalysis theories. He then illustrates his thoughts through the voice of the protagonist, using Chloe and his relationship as an example.

Lemme just say as well, Alain de Botton writes BEAUTIFULLY! It is very hard to merge both factual, theoretical writing with narrative, and even harder to make it engaging enough, the pace to be suitable enough to hold the reader's attention. But he does it PERFECTLY. There are too many lines in this book that I just wanna quote and think them over in my mind. He writes so well that often I am left thinking about his words and that is why I love this book so much. It is incredibly thought-provoking and for me, highly inspiring. An example would be,

"Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing; that we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying; that, in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved."


And the ending is really expectant. I do not feel the tragic bite of a failed love but instead, the author makes Love to be a cyclical journey and has it's climax and then slowly fading into a new one. It ends quite optimistically, eventhough it spelt the fading out of Chloe and his relationship.

Overall, I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is exactly the thing I needed to get me out of my reading rut because it is so different. Mind you, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Simply because this book is highly factual, almost like a university reading and quite objective. But not overly so thanks to the perfect mix of fact and fiction.

Definitely thumbs up! (I might not even have enough thumbs to illustrate how much I like this one)

View all my reviews

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