Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

74%

13 Critic Reviews

This is an amazing book, which you do not want to let go of.
-Guardian

Synopsis

One day Sophie comes home from school to find two questions in her mail: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" Before she knows it she is enrolled in a correspondence course with a mysterious philosopher. Thus begins Jostein Gaarder's unique novel, which is not only a mystery, but also a complete and entertaining history of philosophy.

 

About Jostein Gaarder

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Jostein Gaarder was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. He taught high-school philosophy for several years before publishing a collection of short stories in 1986 and, shortly thereafter, his first two novels, The Solitaire Mystery and Sophie’s World, and several others since then. He lives in Oslo with his family.
 
Published March 20, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 548 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Sophie's World
All: 13 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

In this long, self- referential novel (to use the word loosely), Gaarder presents philosophy in a clear, cogent way, using Sophie's and Hilde's experiences to illustrate his points. The reader who is expecting something other than a creative textbook, however, will be disappointed.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jul 16 2015

This long, dense novel...offers a summary history of philosophy embedded in a philosophical mystery disguised as a children's book...Many readers, regardless of their age, may be tempted to skip over the lessons, which aren't well integrated with the more interesting and unusual metafictional story line.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Tintin on Jun 11 2012

This is an amazing book, which you do not want to let go of.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by hfdratch on Nov 20 2005

There is more and some is slow; some fun. If I knew a young person with an intellectual tendency; I would send it on. But there is enough fun in learning to interest others as well. Perhaps it suffered somewhat in translation from the Norwegian; perhaps philosophy is always dry to all but philosophers.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Diane Scearce on Apr 27 2010

This book would be an excellent introduction to philosophy for a precocious teen or a refresher for the adult who studied philosophy in college. Although there are times that Sophie's comments seem too modern or bold for the circumstances, it adds to the surreal nature of some of the scenes.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Dec 23 1994

...Sophie’s World is framed as the story of a 14-year-old girl who is the recipient of mysterious letters that present her with the history of Western philosophy...Sophie’s detective-like quest to learn the other girl’s identity is a metaphor for figuring out her own place...

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Susan Salter Reynolds on Sep 20 1994

It's intriguing and disturbing to mistrust your author...to wonder nervously who is watching you while you read, and ultimately whether you are a character in someone else's book. If, in fact, you are (and I cannot say for sure) you should hope that the writer is as generous and talented as Jostein Gaarder.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jul 16 2015

Sophie's World is thefirst novel about philosophy written especially for young people, sharing thehistory of philosophy with a mind-boggling tale...Sophie's World is the most thought-provoking novel I have everread. It combines an overview of philosophy with a riveting story and a maincharacter I could really relate to.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Jul 16 2015

I have never read a book like Sophie's World. The way plot and theme are combinedand expressed makes this book unique. It is a mystery, but not in theconventional sense...The mysteryaspect does wear thin rather early, and though the end is not as climactic as I'dhoped, it is definitely worth a read.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by PurpleTornado on Jul 16 2015

Sophie’s World is the most unique mystery novel you will find. It’s a window to philosophy...Although a major part of the book is a course on philosophy, the book does not get boring at all...Sophie’s World is a must read for anyone who wants to know a bit about philosophy in a pleasant, simple way.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Ameera Kamal on Apr 25 2012

Truly amazing! Excellent piece of intellectual fiction! This is what I have been looking for! Sophie's World is a beautifully written tale (within a tale (within a tale)) that will take you to an inspirational journey through the history of philosophy.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Ann E on Apr 24 2010

This novel is a great substitute for a boring philosophy textbook...Even more redeeming is the fictional portion of the novel, so although readers may grow bored and want to skip over the philosophy lesson bits, you'll still find yourself being pulled in enough to finish the entire lengthy book.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Lam on Aug 21 2009

You have to read this book to believe it...The first two questions you will have to answer would be "who are you?" and "where does the world come from?". This is the book for general...Philosophy is seen as a boring topic. The truth is you will like philosophy once you have read this book. Enjoy it.

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Reader Rating for Sophie's World
77%

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Ginanjar Teguh Iman 26 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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