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User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

And wanted to see how Ms de Beauvoir treated it in her fiction. Reading this semi-autobiographical novel did give me a look at a practical application of that philosophy. Oh, and it's also a very ... Read full review

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I have admired De Beauvoir and Sartre, both their novels and philosophy for a while now. I enjoyed "The Mandarins" so much that I was very anxious to read "She Came To Stay". But I have to admit I did not enjoy this novel nearly as much. One of the reasons is due to some personal feelings. I admire Beauvoir's philosophy, forward thinking, intelligence; as well as an admiration for the truths she exposes concerning women's rights and the insanity of roles they were forced into in a society dominated by men. Also I do fervently believe in gay rights and marriage, I see absolutely nothing wrong with it nor the fact that Simone had affairs with women. However I lost much respect with the fact that she did so with 16 & 17 year old students when she was a teacher. To me this display's a selfishness that is hard to forgive. And I cannot get past the way she shared the students with Sartre. I expect intelligent people to be better than this, although perhaps I am quite naive. But how can they have such a disregard for a young teenagers' well being and future at the expense of their selfish needs. Beauvoir should have done this with older women and not young students. This violently conflicts with her views and concerns with women in society. And I have no quarrels with trio's, just adults with under aged students.
I needed to explain that because this trio with Xaviere just constantly reminded of adult teachers taking advantage of students and how conflicted I feel for having respect for Beauvoir in some areas, and thinking in reality, she and Sartre are just (and I dont know an exact single word) imprudent, arrogant, debauched, depraved, indifferent, self-serving, etc. So this took away some enjoyment of reading her novel.
Aside from that, I really did not like the characters nor did I develop much interest in them. Pierre is just an egotistically self-indulgent male. Francoise I had some sympathy for but I did not believe that a woman so smart could stay so fooled and used by Pierre. It did not make sense, love may be blind but she took it to extremes. Or maybe I misunderstood a bit and it was her love for Xaviere more than Pierre that made her stay in such a hopeless situation. I felt sorry for Xaviere but she certainly wasn't very likable and was such a child. But she did not deserve to be taken advantage of by those two that was mostly self-indulgence and experimentation an their part.
And I was extremely tired of hearing the line "now you hate me..." incessantly. Every time I read that, I said Yes, I have learned to hate you!
Having said that I am glad I read this novel and I dont regret it in the least. I will read her other novels as well. It was a fascinating depiction of feelings and the dynamics of a trio. I guess Simone could have only written this so well by having experienced it. It does make you think and make you question things, not morally at all (except for the underage thing) but just about human nature, needs, and behavior.
I like the way she describes things and the phrases she uses. She is such an excellent writer. My opinion is that this novel is worth reading as that can probably be said about all or most of her works.
 

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