Book Club: Elegance Week 4 – You Made It!!!

Book Club: The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Week 4

Hosted by The Book Wheel and Love at First Book

Welcome to Week 4: Today-28 – Paloma to end of book (pages 239-325)

You’ve made it (or almost made it if you’re still reading, which it totally fine btw)!

Please go ahead and start (or continue) the conversation!  Remember to come back to continue to respond to others who comment throughout the week (and month)!  Write as much or as little as you please, and don’t forget to link your own blog if you have one!

Feel free to post about the entire book!  Spoilers completely allowed since we’ve finished reading!

Haven’t finished yet?  Come back when you’re done and join in the conversation!

Didn’t read with us but want to chat about the book?  Join us!  This is all about awesome book discussion!

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca and Allison


19 thoughts on “Book Club: Elegance Week 4 – You Made It!!!

  1. Okay, so totally shocked by the ending of the book! I did not expect Renee to be killed! What a shocker! And then she continued to go on and on about things, which was fine with me, except it caused me to cry and cry. . .

    Rewinding a little. . .

    Was it just me or did anyone else have zero inking of WHEN this book was taking place? There was a mention in this section of a Thai child adopted after the tsunami so I googled when big tsunamis hit Thailand, wondering if there had been another, many years before. That answer is no, btw. Then, Renee quoted Eminem lyrics! I assumed the book took place a while ago, like 40+ years or so! I know Renee has a TV, but I was picturing one of those small, boxy, super heavy TVs. . . Did anyone else think that?

    Oh and Paloma. . . she is just melting my heart. I love how she believes that life is tracking “down those moments that are dying” and that those are beautiful. In essence, that is exactly what Renee did while dying: track her moments of beauty and life.

    My heart broke when I found out Renee’s secret of cocooning herself because she didn’t want to be like her sister. Oh my gosh, I’m sooo glad she told Paloma and then Ozu found out because I really wanted Renee to be exposed.

    And then, yay Paloma, when realizing that she was just “an unhappy little girl, who when things are at their worst, has been lucky enough to meet some good people. Morally do I have the right to let this chance go by?” Yes! I knew that she would see the light!!!


  2. Sorry I haven’t commented the last 2 weeks. Once I got going I read straight through and then I can’t remember what I am able to comment on so, I waited until the end!

    I really enjoyed the developing relationship between Renee and Ozu but I was totally shocked by the ending also. Actually, I was disappointed that Renee died – was the message of the books supposed to be that we can’t escape our fate? After hearing her story about her sister and her efforts to hide herself from her fate I was so happy that she was breaking free. And then she dies?!

    I really didn’t have any idea when this was happening either although, I was picturing 40-50 years ago.

    I loved Paloma – such a wonderfully developed character.


  3. I’ve been so busy, I forgot to comment on week three. Oops.

    I loved this book. LOVED. This is a book that is definitely going on my “to reread” list. Thank you for choosing it for the book club (which got me to sit down and read it, finally).

    The end made me SO SAD, but even Renee’s death was beautiful in its own way. I saw the foreshadowing of it, but I kept trying to convince myself it wasn’t really going to happen. Le sigh. It actually made me cry.

    I highlighted so many passages in the book. It is so quote-worthy.

    The only thing that let me down about Renee was her quoting of Eminem lyrics. Ugh. Haha! No, Renee. Just…no.


  4. OMG!!! I listened to this book. While on the way to work this week I heard the ending and could not keep my self from crying. There should be public service announcements about the dangers of crying & driving. Luckily disaster was averted for me, but unfortunately not for Renee.

    One of my first thoughts was that Renee IS her sister! She lets her guard down and connects with a wealthy person and then she ends up dead just like her sister. I know that when I look at the bigger picture the awful circumstances surrounding Renee’s death are only a coincidence. The lesson seems to be that being closed off to others in an effort to protect oneself is perhaps more damaging than opening oneself to others knowing there is uncertainty to the risks & rewards. Renee seems to understand that in the moments before her death and is relieved that she took the risk and opened up to others.

    Finally we know the profound thinker’s name is Paloma. I am so glad that she has come to the understanding that life is worth living. She is a sweet, smart, sensitive person that brings hope and freshness to this story.

    I liked this book much more the second time around. The book club gave me a chance to think about the story and characters in more depth.

    Great choice!


    • Oh I like that idea of the lesson. Renee learned to experience life in an open way and was truly happy, even if it was only for a short period of time.

      I’m glad you got more out of the book on round 2 – I plan on rereading it myself.


  5. I loved the ending!

    I already knew Renée died, because I saw the movie first, but it’s sadder when you read the book. The thoughts Renée has while dying had me crying, especially when she talks about her cat. I imagined myself leaving my dog behind, and it wrecked me.
    I think it was such a great book. One that you definitely have to read again every now and then. It was difficult for me at the beginning, because I thought the characters were a little know-it-all, but as the story progressed, Renée and Paloma became familiar and engaging.

    Thank you for making me read the book because I was missing a great story!


    • Yes yes yes! I totally agree with you on all of your points!

      And I’m glad Allison & I made a good choice this month for the book club, too. We like to find out a little bit about the books but kind of wing it at the same time with our choices.


  6. What a good book! I mean, good in a, “I’m so mad about the ending” way. I can’t BELIEVE the author killed off Renee! What was the point of that?! I suppose I could get philosophical and talk about how for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction and that Renee’s death saved Paloma’s, but then I’d have to start wondering why Paloma’s life was worth saving when Renee’s wasn’t (youth maybe?). It brings up a lot of questions that I didn’t even think about while I was reading the book.


  7. Ok so I only finished it last night, but I knew Renee was going to die because I was silly enough to read the first line of the first comment of this post 😦

    I didn’t enjoy reading the last 2 chapters of this book, in light of my recent experience, it was quite an emotional read, I cried it was just so sad and makes me wonder… “is that what happens when you die”? I found it so ironic that Ozu told Renee “you are not your sister” and yet she experienced the same thing that her sister did. She got involved with one of the rich people and then she died. Although it was just bad fate or luck, it is just so ironic.

    Atlast I know the little girl’s name, Paloma – she is such a delight. Really liked reading her profound thought and her reasoning on even the most simple things in life – like the rosebud falling. Nice! I also liked the chapter were she was talking about how easy it is for someone to say “never again” or “never” and that she only realised what those words really meant when she lost Renee, who is regarded as a friend, and how painful a realisation “never” is. That made me cry again, I sometimes use the word “never” too and now I know what never feels like. It’s not an empty word, but an empty feeling.

    I think I will reread this book again, because I’ve read it in stages for the book club. I finish week 1, then I carry on with other books until I have to read week 2 etc, because I didn’t want to read ahead and risk leaving spoilers when I comment. So I will reread the book from start to finish and see what I might have missed out on the first read. This was a great choice for book club Allison and Rebecca. Looking forward to what you are going to read next! Are you having a vote again?


  8. I love Paloma, too! And I like Allison’s insight of maybe Renee dying so that Paloma can live.

    I don’t think we will do a vote (because last time we voted the book chosen was In the Woods which was a flop) but we will choose one that seems to have many more positive reviews than negative ones, like this book!!!


    • Ok! Didn’t you vote for a train in winter too? I don’t remember voting for In the Woods – although I didn’t quite love the book, I liked the discussions 🙂


  9. I hate to sound ghoulish, but I couldn’t wait to see the reaction here to the ending. The scene in the movie is quite eye-popping.

    In reading your comments, I’m disappointed in how little I retained of the book. I read it a couple of years ago, I think. I finished it feeling that I’d read something impressive, but I’ve only carried an over all impression with me.


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