Wednesday, October 2, 2013
On Love by Alain de Botton
Author: Alain de Botton
Publisher: Grove Press
Original Publication Date: 1993
I have been having different slices of the same loaf. And I plan to continue on finishing the platter until kingdom come. After reading Fromm's Art of Loving, Alain de Botton's On Love was consequently partaken of.
At the outset, Art of Loving must be considered as a league of its own. The theorizing Fromm achieved was incomparable in that love, like any other concept in the social sciences, could be easily demystified, unraveled and explained by the use of inquiry and reason; even though what Fromm wrote in the intro that every endeavor committed to such pursuit is bound to end in failure still held true until the bitter end of his book. An aspect which De Botton's work did not tackle (and conclude with) in a significantly different matter.
If Fromm wrote about the origins of love and how love can be successfully pursued as an art in itself in a very scholarly manner, De Botton on the other hand wrote on the inception of love and the processes it goes through, albeit ending in an unideal and rather depressing manner. For all it's worth however, On love manages to encapsulate the reader for the very personal, realistic and relatable (most especially) manner De Botton has chosen to write this book.
The book is divided in essays on particular issues connected through out a developing relationship. We are treated to numbered paragraphs under these essays. The riveting aspect of this book however lies in the manner De Botton was so successful in enlacing the theoretical aspects to the fictional aspect that objectified and so perfectly represented his theories and arguments. De Botton not only theorize love well, he presented the readers with something they can objectively relate to through Chloe's fictional love story, and in doing so, managed to humanize what was conceived in abstract. More than that, it managed to establish a connection with the reader, by a common thread of experience in the story. De Botton did not only theorize actions of love like putting meaning where there is none, holding hands, happiness, betrayal and fear of loving again and of loving again, he wrote about it through Chloe. De Botton is one great love story writer that most YA Romance novelist will ever dream of.
The sentences were beautifully written, incomparably so. I remember reading Hemingway and having the same reaction. De Botton simply writes beautifully.
If there were any limitations to this book, we have to concede that it is written in a certain perspective, a man's perspective, which sometimes arguably is guilty of permeating the objectiveness of the arguments.