01 May 2012

Simone de Beauvoir; Deirdre Bair


Simone de Beauvoir: A BiographySimone 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").

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