Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

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What would you do if one day you started receiving mysterious letters from a mysterious person all about the history of Philosophy? When this happened Sophie Amundsen, a 14 year old girl living in Norway, she didn’t know what to think at first.Until she couldn’t stop thinking about and questioning the world around her.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder is a novel about the history of philosophy. If you think that sounds boring, you’re wrong because it’s not written like a text book. OK, well parts of it are a bit slow like a text book, but that’s just when Gaarder’s getting the philosophy information across to the reader. The entire plot, though, is one big mystery.

After Sophie begins her course on philosophy she begins receiving postcards from a UN battalion major that are for his daughter, Hilde Moller Knag, to be delivered for her birthday which happens to be on the same day as Sophie’s. As the philosophy lesson continues, Sophie’s mother begins to worry about her strange behavior, but Sophie continues to push her mother’s fears aside. Eventually she meets her mysterious philosopher teacher, a man named Alberto Knox, and they begin the biggest journey of their lives: figuring out who they really are.

They worry that Major Knag is messing with their world, intentionally playing God. Now Sophie can’t tell what is real and what isn’t anymore and as her 15th birthday approaches she has to unravel the mystery of who she and Hilde truly are.

This is my second time reading through Sophie’s World. It is definitely a book that needs to be read more than once. I first read it in high school, but I don’t think I was into philosophy as much as I am now so I didn’t appreciate it as much. This time, however, I feel like I understood and was able to grasp more of what was going on in the book.

I’m not going to lie, some parts of this book are hard to get through. It’s definitely not a book that a reader can easily speed through (unless you are hard core into philosophy, then you could probably read through it a bit faster). Each chapter explains an important figure in philosophy and what their philosophy was, making this a great beginners book for anyone interested in philosophy. The fact that the information is also weaved into a very good plot line makes it even more interesting to high school readers.

But with all the information being handed to you I recommend only reading at least 2 chapters a day. If you can retain more information, by all means read on. But I stuck with around 2 to 3 chapters a day (which is what took me so long to finish it) and I was able to follow it a lot better.

So if you’re interested in learning about the history of philosophy this is definitely a book I recommend picking up.

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