0506 | Bonjour Tristesse | Francoise Sagan


This is France’s answer to Catcher in the Rye and, considering it was published when Sagan was only 18, is astonishing for that. The writing shows great maturity and insight into human character, particularly that of older adult relationships, which elude me even today, let alone when I was 18!

The story is from the point of view of an adolescent, Cecile, watching her father deal with a couple of women who want to marry him. I really appreciated the way that Sagan described the feelings that accompany this. I went through something similar although I was only 10 years old at the time. I think she gets it spot on.

Cecile has a hard time accepting the fact that her father has chosen to marry despite being happy with a string of girlfriends and living what Cecile thinks is an idyllic carefree life. The conception that there is nothing to gain in the impending marriage for her middle-aged father is, I think, a very natural one for someone in their teens who would reject anything that would tie them down.

Cecile is a complex character and although anyone writing about a teen would have to take this into account, to do it when you yourself are a teen is quite amazing I think. She is torn between greatly admiring the woman her father has chosen while abhorring the idea of her becoming her stepmother. This leads to a great deal of conflict, understandably, although most of this is psychological rather than physical.

It’s a very short book and can easily be read in one sitting and, in fact, I think would benefit from that approach so that you immerse yourself in the mind of Cecile with no distractions.


A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness.


This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

RATING bonjourr
Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style

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