This is essentially a manual about long term relationships camouflaged as a fictional story about a couple. It covers the relationship of Rabih and Kirsten from when they first meet and follows the ups and downs of their marriage for many years. I think most people will see themselves in at least some aspect of this book, but whether that makes you laugh or cringe will be for you to find out.
The author wove fiction and commentary in this book fairly well. Some of his comments were useful, but some I found less so. He seems to think that it doesn't matter who you pick as a partner, all coupling is about the same. I don't agree and don't think that's helpful.
I found the story initially to be refreshing on how it tackles the unnatural depictions of love we so often find throughout the many forms of media. However, halfway through it was coming off as redundant to me so I did not finish the book. I would recommend this book however, it was very good, and the different aspects of love in life were grasped accurately.
This pretty much paints a portrait that rings true to my experience of marriage. Remarkable in its ability to make their outwardly unremarkable relationship so complex. It might discourage some people hoping for a clearer path forward, but I found this quite uplifting and affirming to know my struggles are shared. I'm ready to read it again and revisit some of the commentary that is interspersed with the story.
A powerful book... filled with enough worthy quotes to fill a respectable Pinterest board (substitute journal, wall or scrapbook for Pinterest if you have no idea what I'm talking about here). It's written in what I found initially to be a slightly jarring style, pairing narrative with an italicized set of dictums about love, marriage and the realities of modern day life. Perhaps this was de Botton's way of opening up his essays to a larger readership, but whatever the reason, it read almost like the voice of an omnipotent deity superimposed over the story of a fairly ordinary family. Very strange, maybe even a little alienating at times, but I did grow to like it as time passed. de Botton is witty and interesting and his comments inspire reflection.
"The course of love" is by turns depressing and inspiring, but if you are a mediocre person like myself, struggling sometimes with the realities of a mundane existence, it gives you a new perspective. de Botton presents a perhaps more accurate portrayal of two people joined together beyond the "happily ever after", sharing a mostly loving life, but recognising that life does often include things like stretch marks, dishes, fights over who gets the top shelf of the wardrobe, rubbish bins and baby poo. It normalises conflict, which I found comforting, given that often all we see in fiction and film is the gloss and glamour of early love.
To my mind, it didn't hang together perfectly, but any book that makes you think more about your life is worth reading. It's an easy read and should be compulsory for anyone who is contemplating marriage or who has already made the jump.
November is non-fiction month on BookTube and although classified as a work of fiction, the narrator of this book gives enough non-fiction insight into what a relationship takes to warrant it acceptable on my mind as non-fiction.
It follows the life of Rabih and Kirsten (Mostly told from Rabih's point of view) as to what they thought love meant as a teenager, their courtship and life beyond the saying of "I do."
Told in five main themes, (Romanticism, Ever After, Children, Adultery and Beyond Romanticism) we have a third person narrative explain the life journey that Rabih and Kirsten go through, liberally interspersed with analysis, psychology or philosophical insights to each situation.
More than once I found myself having 'a-ha' moments as De Botton looks at situations from both sides of the coin. It does take some getting used to, these insights or remarks, when first embarking on reading this book, as the remarks would seem to interrupt the flow of the story. But as one goes deeper into the novel, one cannot help but gain greater insights to the situations the couple find themselves in.
"The best cure for love is to get to know them better." page 177
Alain De Botton has written a number of non-fiction books and speaks publically about the everyday matters of life and is probably the only philosopher I've ever had the time of day for.
"Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm." page 198
I read this book in one sitting. This is a book I would highly recommend anyone wanting to have, or be in an actual relationship. Short, sharp and witty, it is, I'm sure, going to become a favoured book to stand the test of time.
The course of love never did run smoothly ... or does it? Alain de Botton has managed to write a love story that pinpoints, with delicacy and compassion, what a real love story is. Rabih and Kirsten's relationship has many ups and downs, and the authors ability to look at both characters compassionately makes this a lovely read.
Roberta's Pick: There are two threads in this book - the love story of Rabih and Kirsten, and the author's (italicized) comments on their story. You will either grow to love this (I did) or it will make you want to pluck out your eyes. Alain de Botton is one of those men who writes sensitively and intelligently about love. And from the outset he makes it abundantly clear that the first stage, when you have just met a new love, is not the most important bit. It's what comes after that makes for a real love story. Staff Pickles.
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