Book review: The Course of Love by Alain De Botton, ISBN: 9780241145470, Publication Date: 28th April 2016

The Course of Love pic

This book is quite simply beautiful… An original concept but written with such stunning prose, I was captured by the rawness of De Botton’s awareness and treatment of the subject of marriage and in turn every page was a joy to read.

Rabih and Kirsten meet, do all of the couple stuff and then inevitably they marry. The Course of Love is a portrayal of their married life together as the years go by and is a huge example of how even the simplest of miscommunication or misunderstanding can become so much more in a marriage as the unspoken eats away and rears its ugly head bit by bit as it is inevitably vented. The accompanying philosophical insight coupled with his psychology of his character’s innermost thoughts makes the reader feel as though De Botton is himself privileged to the workings of the character’s inner minds, such is his acute observations of the couples psyche and their marriage behind closed doors. It acknowledges how marriage should, in hindsight,  idealistically be the place in which two people can readily communicate to one another but , in reality, such communication doesn’t always come naturally for many a married couple.

Having been married for many years now, I personally  found myself nodding away to so many of the experiences both Rabih and Kirsten encountered as they moved further into their marriage and their roles within their partnership and I know many other married couples would find parts of this book so relatable to, in particular the Ikea argument scene in which I howled with laughter because I don’t know a couple who haven’t experienced a difference in opinions when shopping in this way!

De Botton states that people are always interested in how and when a married couple met and proposed, but yet the question they never ask is ‘how is the marriage working?’ something which now that I think about, I can’t ever recall anyone asking myself or my husband but also a question that I personally can’t recall having asked any of the married couples I know and yet the more I think of it, the more I realise that this is the more important aspect of marriage itself particularly as the meeting/proposal  soon becomes a faded memory and then the real work begins…

Beautiful, fascinating and thought provoking, The Course of Love is a story which stays with you long after you close the book.

I reviewed this book for the wonderful people at NetGalley.




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