The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Relationship worries? The Course of Love has got you covered. Just one quick read of this breezy bestseller and you could save thousands on tissues, counselling and wine. This hot of the press beauty by Alain de Botton (think Essays in Love) is like an articulate friend and self-help book put together with the added benefit of a classic story. And I thought Dr Phil was good.
The Course of Love tracks the relationship of Kirsten and Rabih. From the first sparks of love, we follow the trials of their marriage through children, financial stress, jealousies and fears.
Their story moves quickly, stripped of drawn out dialogue and detailed settings, but is broken up with the formal observations of a distant counsellor. I’m calling it ‘the italicised voice’.
For example; when Rabih gets angry with Kirsten after a night at the pub, the italicised voice pops in with:
“At the heart of the sulk lies a confusing mixture of intense anger and an equally intense desire not to communicate what one is angry about.”
Or when Rabih contemplates a dalliance, we get:
“The forthrightness of the middle-aged seducer is rarely a matter of confidence or arrogance; it is instead a species of impatient despair born of a pitiful awareness of the ever-increasing proximity of death. “
Some people have called this book funny and others deeply moving. For me it was neither but I still loved it. I didn’t give two hoots about the characters but loved how easy and different it was to read. I was also quietly impressed with the observations of the italicised voice. In fact, I’d quite like it to pop in to my place one day.
My overall impression of this book was patient, positive and soft around the middle. Again with the Dr Phil references.
And that’s my 2 cents worth.