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Book Review: The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow

I picked up The Philosopher’s Apprentice on a whim from the library. And what a whim. The flyleaf gave a thumbnail description of a philosophy doctoral student who takes a job becoming the tutor for a teenage girl who was in an accident and lost her sense of morality. OK, sounds interesting as far as that goes. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

The Philosopher’s Apprentice is really a story in three acts. Act One: doctoral student tutors teenager on remote Caribbean island. Finds out there is more to the island than he was led to believe, including two sisters of his student, a bunch of genetic engineering, and talking iguana. I know it sounds like a tripped-out dream, but it’s just hard to give a lot more detail without spoiling major points of the plot.

Act Two: philosophy tutor watches from a distance as his former student, suddenly fabulously wealthy, takes his teachings on morality to unbelievable ends.

Act Three: tutor and student end up together again and have to deal with the fallout from the rest of the world as it reacts to the student’s programs.

The Philosopher’s Apprentice is at times quite humorous, at times quite serious, and dances along the line between fiction and fantasy without quite ever deciding where to land. It was a fun read, provoking some interesting thoughts along the way. Worth picking up if you get the chance.

[You can buy The Philosopher’s Apprentice at Amazon.com – on sale cheap right now!]

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