Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

TristesseThis short novel was the first work published by French author Françoise Sagan. She was eighteen, and this detestable story featuring a detestable teenage child was (apparently) based on her own experiences.

Seventeen-year-old Cécile is spoiled, demanding, ungrateful, careless, lazy, and self-absorbed—a true enfant terrible. I genuinely dislike her. And yet, I can whole-heartedly relate to her. Not to the way she puts her own happiness and comforts above all else and others, or how she sabotages her doting father’s relationships to suit her own motives, or the carefree summer days she spends on the beach and in the water at a gorgeous French villa, torturing a law student with her sexual awakening, mind you. To those points I certainly cannot relate. But to her teenage woe, the direness of her self-perceived situation, and the strength of her emotions (however misguided they may be)? As a woman who was once just a fledgling—I unfortunately can. I wish I couldn’t. But, having been a child herself when she wrote Cécile, François managed to perfectly capture the best and worst things about being a teenaged girl: everything is raw and urgent and absolutely critical.

So yes, I can recognize pieces of myself in the horrible Cécile. I can also recognize that this novella of only 130 pages is brilliantly and beautifully written. And, despite Cécile—and perhaps even François—I really loved it. Thank you for the recommendation, Lara.

No. 18 on my challenge.

Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction.BrownI initially picked this up thinking I’d slip it in under No.22 on my challenge, but since it’s probably the least explicit Sandra Brown book I’ve read (there are only like, three steamy scenes in 416 pages), I’m going to hold off until I find a book worthy of the Erotica genre. In other news, Friction is the perfect book for soaking in a jacuzzi, lounging in a sunny backyard, and cozying up with a glass of wine on a rainy day (all of which were things I did while reading this). The thriller bit was thrilling, the romance bit was romantic, and the characters were satisfyingly maddening in their stubbornness, so I’d say it’s a pretty decent yarn.

Also, did you know that she’s written, like, eighty books? And that she has her own app? This lady knows what she’s doing.