Sophie's World

Jostein Gaarder


Sophie's World-Jostein Gaarder

Set in the year 1990, Sophie Amundson was just an average 14 year old schoolgirl until she received two letters in the mail. The letters revealed two questions: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?”After pondering about those two questions for a while, she then finds herself subscribing to a correspondence course about philosophy through her mail. With the inspiration from the mysterious philosopher, Sophie travels far out of her origins in Norwegian village to find the questions to these big questions, and discover the meanings of life along the way. Through her journey to find meanings, she then starts receiving letters addressed to a girl named Hilde, and finds that reality isn’t what she thought it to be. Peak into a world of truth, lies, identity, and confusion: Sophie’s World.

Social/Historical context:

The novel ‘Sophie’s World’ was written in the late 1990s where the philosophical era had just settled down for more modern innovations. The author, Jostein Gaarder, had introduced many key philosophical ideas of Western thought into the book, making it an engaging yet knowledgeable book. The book also features content about Romanticism, Indo-European and Semitic culture, and religious teachings. For the book itself, it was set in 1991 in Norway, with more social freedom than the century past.

Writing Style:

Jostein Gaarder has a very unique flavour in his writing style as he uses advanced vocabulary, but is still able to keep his readers engaged. Throughout the book, I found that I had no problem understanding some of the relatively foreign words because of the great context that he provided. I was able to guess and infer, which made it a great opportunity to learn more vocabulary. Gaarder also writes with grace and straight-forwardness, as his story telling never drags on, and keeps things balanced between beautiful wording and comprehensibility. Overall, I found his writing style to be very detailed, yet easy to understand.

My Thoughts:

‘Sophie’s World’ is a spectacular book with not only true historical facts, but also a twist of imagery. The book really gripped me, as it was confusing between fictions and reality, and the mysterious characters really captivated me, making me want to learn more. The author did a really good job at keeping readers hooked, as the secrets were revealed one by one throughout the book. I really enjoyed the ending of the book, as it was a shocking plot twist, but also cleared up a lot of questions that was garnered throughout the reading. I definitely think that the ending of this book was one of the best I have read, and it really does make readers think about it, even after the ending. Overall, I give this book a 4.5/5 as it was very interesting, but a bit too slow in pacing. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in philosophy, and to people who enjoy thinking about the world on a large scale.

Book Reviewed by Cindy Xu

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