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Book Review: Sophie’s World - Jostein Gaarder

Book Review: Sophie’s World - Jostein Gaarder

By Lela S.

Sophie’s World is a mixture of fantasy, science-fiction, and philosophy that will leave your head spinning but will still get you coming for more. It follows the events of a fourteen-year-old girl named Sophie Amundsen who, one day, receives a letter with two questions in it. Who are you, and where does the world come from? She spends all her free time reflecting on these questions: she never really took the time to think about these kinds of things before. Soon after that, she starts receiving more mysterious things in her mailbox. Each morning, a letter containing a few questions arrives, then later in the day, a package comes with some typed pages describing various philosophical ideas, plus explanations to the previously sent questions. However, at the same time as she takes the philosophy course, she starts receiving yet MORE mysterious letters. This time, though, the letters aren’t even addressed to her: Hilde Møller Knag is the addressee. Apparently, the two girls share a birthday, June 15, which is also the date that the majority of the letters are adressed to. Then, as Sophie's education continues, the Hilde situation begins to get more complicated. Who is Hilde? How are the two connected? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?

Those were the questions I was asking myself as I blazed through the book. My honest review of this book is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Here’s why: nothing much happens in the first half of the book, but the second half of the book is action-packed. If you’ve read Sophie’s World before, you know what I mean. When I started out the book, I dragged reading it for a really long time. It was simply a regular girl taking a mysterious philosophy course by mail and doing almost literally nothing about it. However, as soon as I reached the second half, I was completely hooked. The philosophy aspect of this book explained each philosopher and their theories really well. I’m not an expert in philosophy and I’ve never dived into it before, but because of Sophie’s World, I’d be open to discovering and learning more about it. As I mentioned before, there are numerous questions that I really enjoyed reflecting on. I would recommend this book to ages 10+, because I think that the concepts covered in the philosophy course, with a little thinking, are comprehensible for ages ten and up. There is no violence whatsoever, so I think it’s fully appropriate for kids.

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