01 May 2012
Simone de Beauvoir; Deirdre Bair
Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography by Deirdre Bair
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was really more of a 2.5 than a 3, but I'm feeling a bit generous.
I'd been interested in reading this because I've read a number of her works, all while I was much younger, in college (and she was alive). Learning more about the woman who'd informed some of my philosophy and women's studies classes was interesting - the problem is, Simone de Beauvoir just seems like a not nice person. Her life, at least the way it's presented here, was a series of squabbles and justifications for her thoughts and work. In a way, this is bold because there's no sense of hagiography but 600+ pages of an unlikable person...
The writing also was slightly problematic. Most of the time this is straight chronology, but then there's a weird jag in the timeline that lends itself to repetition.l Events were occasionally covered more than once, with a different emphasis (for example, the end of her affair with Algren or relationship with Sylvie le Bon). I was also surprised to see several obvious typos (for example, "writng" and "att hat").