Book Review: How to Behave in a Crowd

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Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: August 15th 2017

Publisher: Tim Duggan Books

Page Count: 336


How to Behave in a Crowd Cover Image

Synopsis from Goodreads: Isidore Mazal is eleven years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn’t quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age twenty-four. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by eighteen months, expects a great career as a novelist–she’s already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle’s Poetics.
Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation. But he notices things the others don’t, and asks questions they fear to ask. So when tragedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief, and perhaps the only one who can help them if he doesn’t run away from home first


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Thoughts

Unpopular opinion: I did not like How to Behave in a Crowd. And to be honest, I think the synopsis kind of mislead me. The description of the book says that a tragedy will strike the family, and, yes, it did. But the tragedy didn’t seem to play a pivotal role in the plot. Nothing changed within the family, at least not that I could see.

Unpopular opinion: I did not like How to Behave in a Crowd.Click To Tweet

Isidore’s older siblings are intelligent, brilliant, brainiacs, which can be annoying at times. They all seem to be a bit socially awkward. Isidore is the lone Mazal child who can talk to others, understand their feelings, feel empathy. I get how it can be rough for him to live under the shadow of his siblings. He does try to run away a few times at the beginning of the book, but it just felt unnecessary. I didn’t see the point of trying to run away, except to prove that he could.

There were some funny moments in the book, like when Isidore tried to set up a profile for his mom on an internet dating site. There were also some sad, heartbreaking moments, like when a close friend of Isidore’s has an accident, or when his older sister feels depressed after her Ph.D. dissertation.


Overall, this book did not blow me away. But I have seen some great reviews of the book (Check out these reviews by Alycat Geekery and Book Stalker Blog), so I know I’m not in the majority here. If you’d like to see what you think of the book, you can find it here! Here’s a quick recap of my review:



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