The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Murial Barbery
This popular title presents an interesting view into the upper echelons of French society. Told in two voices, one of the building concierge and the other of a twelve year old girl who lives in the building with her family, this story unfolds slowly as we get to know the minds of the two characters. Each character has her own issues revealed to us through philosophical diatribes. The concierge wishes to hide the fact that she is actually very smart, well read, and self-educated. The girl, also brilliant, believes her family is useless and uncaring and wishes to kill herself on her 13th birthday. Their worlds are brought together when a new tenant moves into the building. The story focuses on class differences as well as understanding the difference we can make in the world. The writing is well done, though a bit deep sometimes. There are laugh out loud moments as well as poignant ones. Intended for mature young adult audiences and older.