Review: The Course of Love: A Novel

The Course of Love: A Novel The Course of Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alain de Botton's 'On Love' is a book I read long back which helped in, if not understanding, but figure the underlying elements of Love. So, it was with a lot of anticipation that I picked up 'The Course of Love' and it did not disappoint.

A major part of our lives are spent trying to find the right person to love and after which, the struggle starts to keep that person in our lives. The progression starts with an yearning for the right person and once found, the wooing and as per the most love stories of the world, the marriage. Somehow, marriage seems to be ultimate end point of this struggle.

de Batton starts his book at this point, the initial wooing part is minimal and the marriage happens swiftly. The major part of the book then goes through the struggle to keep the love life intact and the difficult phases which tests the limits of that love. It is an all together familiar story. How do you go past the petulant worries of the day and pass over the difficulties to have a successful marriage?

The story is a concoction of little incidents in the life of Rabih and Kirsten. de Batton keeps on deconstructing those events to come with the different phases and difficulties of love. Love is needed if one has to be happy. Happiness or anxiety or murderous rage is usually a by product of love or lack there of the same. So it is important to understand the reasons on how and why we lose love in the process of living the life.

The book will make a very good present for any marriage. It teaches some important lessons in terms of the challenges faced in a marriage - money, kids, the quirks of the person we married etc - and how that affects love. Some of the narration brought out a chuckle in me as I was able to relate the incidents with my life.

The last 2 chapters basically talks about the transformation in Rabih in understanding what Love is and how to derive happiness out of a marriage. It takes him about 16 years to get there and after numerous misunderstanding and an affair.

The book does not try to answer what love is or isn't. It helps to understand how to derive happiness out of a life which keeps throwing curve balls at you. That is a very good reason to read and cherish the book.

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