Today, I’m going to be talking about a book that makes me sad. This one was much easier to think of. I love a book that can make me cry. I love writing that gets me that emotionally invested in the characters. However, the book I’m going to be writing about actually made me sad in a different way. Though I wasn’t staining the pages with tear drops, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder is one of the saddest books a writer could ever read.
Sophie’s World is really hard to explain. Basically, it’s a philosophy book in the guise of a novel. Sophie receives postcards in the mail that are addressed to a girl named Hilde. Later, she becomes part of a corespondent course in philosophy that she didn’t sign up for, but participates in anyway in order to find out why she keeps receiving these mysterious postcards. Mixed in with the philosophy lessons, impossible things start happening to her and she continues to receive postcards written to Hilde. The postcards are from Hilde’s father, where he tells Hilde about a book he is writing for her as a birthday present. Eventually, Sophie and her philosophy teacher realize that they are the characters in the book Hilde’s father is writing, and all the strange things are happening because he is making them happen. They eventually manage to escape the book and live in an ethereal realm where other escaped fictional characters live. Told you it was confusing.
This book was kind of horrifying from a writer’s perspective. I love to write, and I will freely admit that sometimes I’m not very kind to my characters. This book made me think about my characters in a different way, as if they were real people. If my characters were real, they’d definitely hate me and want to escape from my story. This book made me feel bad for writing the way I do. It reminds me of all the things I’ve done to my poor characters. And that’s why Sophie’s World is my sad book of choice..