The Course of Love was a brilliant read for me, it’s refreshing to see a novel that is heavily invested in the psychology behind the characters and intricately speculates on where their behaviours derive from. So apparent is the psychological speculation, you could read this text as a psychological endeavour portrayed in a narrative form. This needn’t put you off if you are looking for a novel, the insights it offers you are too invaluable.

However, a word of warning is necessary! This book repeatedly points out commonalities throughout various people’s relationships. As we witness the characters Rabih and Kirsten’s relationship in the novel, things which you thought were yours and your partner’s alone become simple, basic and subject to review. Making common what you thought was solely yours can put a dampener on the uniqueness of your relationship. For example, there is a passage that, in my eyes, brutally depicted how and why couples give each other nicknames. Up until this point I must have subconsciously chosen to ignore how other couples do it, yet they really do and now in a strange way, my girlfriend’s nickname doesn’t seem so special!

Despite this revelation, De Botton explains and manages this lesson with a certain generosity and comfort that allowed me to learn more about my relationship in a positive way. Indeed, revelations such as these are repeated throughout The Course of Love. Mostly these are laid out plainly in italics where De Botton gives his theory or perspective on whatever intricacy of Rabih and Kirsten’s relationship he is examining. As De Bottom tracks their relationship through their lives he leaves few stones unturned in the modern day marriage. This makes for a truthful and fruitful read as the pair grow old together.  

As I read the book I often found myself folding pages at places where I’ve learnt something valuable or stumbled across something that would make for a good piece of discussion. The result of this activity is a very disformed looking book. Indeed, The Course of Love, if nothing else, is a piece of writing that is scattered with thoughtful insights that have the ability to give you a greater understanding of your relationships and yourself past and present. This is a must read for anyone looking for an insight into their own relationship. Moreover, if your stuck for wedding presents, this would be a brilliant gift for newlyweds!

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