Reviews of Sophie's World (1991)
Review by misco (2006-08-12)
I first read this book when I was twelve and remember being absolutely blown away by it. Sophie's World opened up a whole new world of philosophical questions and discussion that before had only existed somewhere at the edge of my consciousness.
Jostein Gaarder should be commended for creating a story that is intriguing enough to keep younger readers interested until the last page, whilst being exposed to new (and old) ideas about the world they live in.
However, some of the philosophical discussions become a little weighty at times and younger teenagers may become weary of them, so while I would recommend this book extremely highly I would warn that if giving this book to a child to read it would help if they were of a certain disposition.
As for adults, I re-read Sophie's World only a few months ago and still found much to think about within its pages. The book, like the content it deals with, appears to be timeless.
Review by johnafair (2006-08-04)
I found the first part of the book very interesting as Sophie learns about the philosophers of the past and their various views on the world around us and how we relate to it.
Where I felt it fell down was in the latter stages where Sophie and her mentor in her quest to answer The Question find themselves as characters in the story rather than the people driing it (OK, not quite what I want to say, but I'm not sure how better to put it :-)). It's almost as if the author's become scared of the philosophical discussions and wanted to lighten the tone somewhat. Whet he ended up doing, in my opinion, is in taking the book off in a totally different tack which rather wrecked where he'd got to to that point.
Review by debzanne (2006-07-28)
As an idea of the age-appropriateness of this novel, I'll explain my experience with it. I picked it up when I was a junior in college, knowing almost nothing about philosophy. I read the letters from the mysterious philosophy tutor, but I tended to skim over them to get to "the good parts," which were the plot surrounding Sophie. I reread it when I was 25 and found the letters much more interesting than the plot, despite the fact that I barely remembered what happened in the end.
Very good book, but definitely not a "beach read." It does require your full attention, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone younger than 19.