Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sophie's World or a controlled world?

(Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)

I should probably confess that I only read Sophie’s World because I thought it was the sort of book you should read if you want to be well read!

However, I’m not sure though if I have ever read a book that has got me so excited! But what can possibly be so brilliant about it? Is it fantastically written? Is it terrifically controversial? Is it a fabulous representation of the world?

Well actually, when I started to read it, I didn’t think it was especially well written; so I just plodded knowing that eventually all books come to an end! But when it did end I was really sad! The basic gist is that Jostein Gaarder explains philosophy through a series of letters and lessons to a young girl called Sophie. Through these letters he asks the typical questions of philosophy – Who am I? Why am I here? Also, I am not sure that Sophie is the most realistic character. She is apparently the cleverest girl EVER (note the sarcasm!) and she understands everything she is taught and remembers everything! This wound my right up!

So what on earth can I be so excited about, what made me continue reading? Gaarder creates an author and through the control this character has the control he causes us to question the control we have over our own lives. The book is about philosophy and therefore a natural question asked is whether God exists. This is why Gaarder uses an author – he is causing the reader to question the control of God with the control of our own lives. Can God co-exist with free will? Is it possible for us to truly have control over our own lives?

Eventually Sophie manages to escape the control of her author but she then finds herself in a parallel universe, neither fully existing in her own world but also not completely existing in the one of her author. But is she better off outside of the control of her author? Is it better for her to be in control of her own life, even though this actually leads to her having no control whatsoever? I think this book reveals the truth that real freedom only comes when we are living in the way we were created to live.

Gaarder ends the book brilliantly, without forcing his opinions in the reader he allows the conclusion to be one that sparks discussion and questions. It is a fantastic book and is consistent with the lessons of philosophy. My final score is a respectable seven and a half out of ten.

Definitely worth a read!

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