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Bonjour Tristesse

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  23,989 ratings  ·  1,649 reviews
Bonjour Tristesse scandalised 1950's France with its portrayal of teenager Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and family to choose her own sexual freedom.

Cécile leads a hedonistic, frivolous life with her father and his young mistresses. On holiday in the South of France, she is seduced by the sun, sand and her first lover. But when her
Paperback, Great Loves, #16, 113 pages
Published August 31st 2007 by Penguin (first published 1954)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
503. Bonjour Tristesse = Hello Sadness, Françoise Sagan
Bonjour Tristesse is a novel by Françoise Sagan. Published in 1954, when the author was only 18, it was an overnight sensation. The title is derived from a poem by Paul Éluard, "À peine défigurée", which begins with the lines "Adieu tristesse/Bonjour tristesse..." An English-language film adaptation was released in 1958, directed by Otto Preminger. 17-year-old Cécile spends her summer in a villa on the French Riviera with her father Raymond
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Hello. I'm Cécile.

- Manny.

- You as bored with this party as I am?

- How bored are you?

- Very.

- I believe I'm enjoying it slightly more than you.

- Were you often this bored when you were my age?

- How old are you?

- Seventeen.

- Um... I'm trying to remember. I think so.

- So what did you do?

- I read a lot.

- Me too. Anything you'd recommend?

- Category?

- Something for a cynical girl who wants to be a famous author?

- You've read Bonjour Tristesse?

- Uh-uh.

- It might inspire you. She published it
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: 1001 Must Read List
This is why I don't read books written by teenagers. Banal and melodramatic.

A bored, spoiled 17-year old who has a bit of a crush on her playboy daddy hates her soon-to-be-stepmother. Cue never-ending angst, alcohol, scheming, glam life, underage sex, and boredom, boredom, boredom, and voila! - a bestseller and a classic.

Please, somebody, get her to do some chores so that she doesn't stuff her head with rubbish!

I am tired of such tripe being praised because of "but the author was only 17 when
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The French seventeen year-old girl narrator is at once astute AND childish. The life of leisure that she leads is intoxicating, and her bohemian experiences and attitudes give the work a refreshing polish. This is somewhat of the opposite of "Catcher in the Rye" since Cecile is experienced, active, cool, while Holden Caulfield. has all the naivete of a newborn, is more of a spectator & is simply, when all is said & done, just duh-hull.
Steven Godin
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, france
Françoise Sagan's amoral novel of a schoolgirl's summer romance, scandalised French society at the time, and, in the process, catapulted her into the limelight, at age only eighteen. Not that it really did her any good, being blighted by drink, drugs and unhappy relationships thereafter.

The narrative is told by seventeen-year-old Cécile, holidaying on the Côte d'Azur with her widowed father, a roué who has brought along his young girlfriend. The daughter is exploring her own first sentimental
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who thrive in sadness
Recommended to Dolors by: Emilie
Shelves: read-in-2014
“Adieu tristesse,
Bonjour tristesse.
Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond.
Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j’aime
Tu n’es pas tout à fait la misère,
Car les lèvres les plus pauvres te dénoncent
Par un sourire.
Bonjour tristesse.
Amour des corps aimables.
Puissance de l’amour
Dont l’amabilité surgit
Comme un monstre sans corps.
Tête désappointée.
Tristesse, beau visage.”

Paul Éluard, “À Peine Défigurée”

“Adieu Tristesse
Bonjour Tristesse
Farewell Sadness
Hello Sadness
You are inscribed in the lines on the
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Being stuck on the runway for three hours with Bonjour Tristesse in hand is no fun, I tell you.

I read this at a time when I had a lot on my plate. I didn't have enough patience to be concerned about the problems of a bunch of vain people who are wealthier than Scrooge McDuck, who spend their days sun-bathing and surfing and whose evenings are dedicated to drinking and dancing.

Yeah, I agree it is well-written for an 18 year old author. But it is also so superficial. It is natural that the 17 year
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with cruel intentions
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
So what to say about Cecile and her incessant scheming? Apparently a summer on the Med, smoking and drinking on daddy's dollar (or franc) is not enough for well bred young ladies these days. Where swimming, sunbathing and generally being a bright young thing were once enough, Cecile ups the ante and decides that a more diverting way to spend the summer is to plot the downfall of her fathers current relationship and in between times, try to loose her virginity to the likeable but none too bright ...more
This short and sparkling novel was famously published when the author was just 18 years old. While the same length as some short stories, Bonjour Tristesse feels fully-formed and deftly plotted. The narrator, Cécile, is a 17-year-old girl enjoying an extended summer holiday in the south of France with her father. Cécile is pampered, spoilt and somewhat bratty; her father, who she worships, is a louche and charming womaniser. They see themselves as free spirits, although their 'easy' lifestyle ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
"That summer, I was seventeen and perfectly happy. ...My father was forty, and had been a widower for fifteen years. He was young for his age, full of vitality and liveliness. When I left my convent school two years before and came to Paris to live with him, I soon realized that he was living with a woman. But I was slower in accepting the fact that his fancy changed every six months! But gradually his charm, my new easy life, and my own disposition, led me to fall in readily with his ways. He ...more
Jim Fonseca
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-authors
A seventeen year old girl and her father are stumbling through life after the death of her mother, his wife. The father is a poster child for poor parenting; he brings a series of women into the home and takes his daughter to parties and casinos where she interacts with much older men, dancing, drinking and smoking. (After all, this is France.) Finally he may settle down and marry one of the women but the daughter, dreading rules and regulations, bed-time and study hours, spins a web of intrigue ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-novels
Written when Sagan was still a teenager it is the story of Cecile, a seventeen year old girl who lives with her amoral and dissolute father who has a different woman in tow every two months or so. This year seems to be the year for vapid teenagers; having read A Clockwork Orange and The Catcher in the Rye. Admittedly this was better than the latter and at least here there is some self knowledge and development over the period of the book.
There are few players. Cecile is 17, rich, spoilt and
Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: francophiles, bookish teen girls and former bookish teen girls
A lovely pyschological gem that seems to perfectly depict what it was like to be smart, rich and seventeen years old in 1954. I particularly liked the delicate, exquisite, admirably honest rendering of Cecile's emotions, whether ugly or sweet. I was that age not so very long ago- it isn't hard to remember the truth in what she's saying here.

Should be read in one sitting- with tea on an unhurried Sunday afternoon.
"L’amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie."

English translation: "Love makes the greatest pleasures and most sensitive misfortunes of life."

----Madeleine de Scudery

Françoise Sagan, an award-winning French novelist, has created an uproar in the French literary world as well as in the French community, with her debut novel, Bonjour Tristesse that has been translated into English by Irene Ash, after its crazy popularity and scandal, that earned Sagan a
MJ Nicholls
First, a digression. (How can one digress before the story has even begun? Surely for a digression to take place, a tangible thread needs to be established? Well, what is this parenthesis exactly, if not a digression? Point proven). So: that digression I promised. My first brush with love was with a Scottish lassie named Emma (not a very Scots name, but if local flavour is required, let’s call her Agnes). So Emma-Agnes was the victim of my affections and the entire “passionate” encounter is best ...more
Bonjour Tristesse is one of those books that, while it’s quick and easy to read, generates a lot of contemplation.

Cécile, our narrator, is perhaps one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read. She is a seventeen-year-old overindulgent, pampered child of a father who lives in his own life rather carefree. One summer vacation, Cécile’s life is interrupted by a blast from their past and things take a turn for the worse. It doesn’t help that this story is recounted by her adult self and the
This review may contain spoilers.

Franchise Sagan was 17 when she wrote this novel, which is yet another example of a teen writer finding their way into the realm of classic world literature. Published in 1954, it had immediate success in France and a year later in the US, and 60 years later is still being enjoyed by readers everywhere. I think people were astonished first by the quality of the writing, and second by the level of insight the young writer had regarding serious adult relationships
Ivana Books Are Magic
The protagonist of the novel is a young girl named Cecile, who doesn’t want her widowed father to remarry because well she likes her life the way it is. Her father is a womanizer, but she doesn’t mind it, presumably because that is what makes her the emotional centre of his life. Anyhow, it is the life she is used to and we humans in general are not very keen on change, are we? Bonjour Tristesse is not a long novel, I would say it is something you can read in two hours or less. So, if you’re ...more
"Bonjou, Tristesse" or "Hello, Sadness",is not as sad or depressing as the title suggests.There's no debate whether you should I slash your wrists or put a bullet in your cranium. Nothing like that. It's French riviera, adultery, streaming sun and first kisses. All followed by a cynical, but necessary in my opinion, ending.

The book is mighty short mind you, andthe writing surprisingly mature.Sagan was 18 this was published, did you know? I didn't (not until I was done with the book).

In all my
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mes jours comme mes nuits sont en tous points pareils, sans joies et pleins d'ennui..."

Françoise Hardy's words are quite fitting when it comes to describing the languorous atmosphere of "Bonjour Tristesse", another Françoise's first novel. An important novel, in spite of its flaws and shortcomings: one of those books a whole society must cope with once in a decade.

F. Sagan is only eighteen when she writes about Cécile, seventeen, a pampered teenage Parisian living with a pampered young
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This caused a sensation when it was first published in 1959. Why? The author was just 18 years old when she wrote this and the principal protagonist was a 17-year-old girl, with her 40-year-old wealthy father, both carefree and hedonistic. The father treats his sexual conquests like sporting events; the daughter (who narrates the story), in turn, admits that her love of pleasure "seems to be the only coherent side of (her) character." She's "vaguely uncomfortable with anyone devoid of physical ...more
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Goodbye Sadness." I was drawn to the screen adaptation of this book years ago because of the title and I really enjoyed it. I decided to read this book in French as it's not too long and therefore didn't seem too overwhelming to me.

The main character, 17 year old Cecile, was something else! It was interesting to read Cecile's scheming thoughts, though you can't help but think what a spoiled brat she is. With a playboy father like Raymond who doesn't really parent her, I guess it's not a
Far lesser tragedies -- and all too often, greater ones -- than the one led up to during the ritzy summer Mediterranean vacation described in Bonjour Tristesse occur constantly because people want to preserve a way of life or gain some advantage in love or power or materialism.

In this book, the young, carefree protagonist, Cecile, fears the loss of a way of life, preferring it to the uncertainty of the future. Perhaps she fears even more the loss of the true love of her life, her father. As long
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, french

Cécile is seventeen and perfectly happy. She is spending the summer with her father, Raymond, a wealthy forty-year-old widower and his mistress, Elsa, an attractive twenty-something redhead who earns her living by posing for artists while flitting from one sugar daddy to another. On a whim, Raymond invites Anne, a friend of Cécile’s deceased mother, to join them at their rented villa. The ensuing ménage-à-quatre is untenable—jealousies and power struggles arise. Cécile cannot bear for anyone to

Claire McAlpine
Rachel Cooke in this Guardian article The subtle art of translation reflects on the importance of the right translation and relates her memory of reading Bonjour Tristesse.
a novel I have loved ever since I first read it as a teenager, and whose dreamy opening line in its original translation from the French by Irene Ash – “A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness” – I know by heart.

She decides to splash out and buy a new copy to read
Roman Clodia
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness. In the past the idea of sadness always appealed to me, now I am almost ashamed of its complete egoism.

How strikingly different this is from the literature of 1950s England: laddish books of class and ambition like Room at the Top and A Kind of Loving where young women are trophies and obstacles with their ever-present desired and frightening bodies. Sagan's narrator, in contrast, is the 17
Leah Williams
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: francophiles, teenagers, escapists
Shelves: childhood-books
This book will always remind me of the time I read it--I think I was about 14, and it was far and away the most grown up thing I'd read. The style of the prose is very intimate; as such, the main character is very easy to relate to. Sagan does an excellent job transporting you to a very different time and place. This is a quick, enjoyable novella that is great for an airplane ride or a light summery read.
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lady-writers
My favorite movie of all time is, embarrassingly, My Best Friend's Wedding - the 1997 hit with Julia Roberts (Julia), Dermot Mulroney (Michael), Rupert Everett (George), and Cameron Diaz (Kim). The basic premise for those who haven't seen it is that Julia and Michael are longtime best friends, and she hears from him after a longtime (she was on a book tour), to discover that he is marrying Kim - George is her gay best friend and boss. Julia develops a scheme to break up their marriage, almost ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a more sophisticated beach read
I wish I hadn't known that Francoise Sagan was only 17 when she wrote this book, because I can't tell if I'm being too hard on her in my review, or not hard enough. Either way, the book is notable for its unflinchingly realistic characterization--startlingly so, considering the youth of its author at the time. It's also fascinating for its insider's glance at a certain social set during a certain time period.

But I would say that its charms end there. As carefully and thoughtfully drawn as its
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list
Françoise Sagan was a “charming little monster” indeed! And Bonjour Tristesse is a charming little novel-monster.

Plus, my copy contained a great bonus essay Sagan penned about the intoxicating risk, the “exultant and almost serene pleasure” of speeding. She describes that amazing rush one gets when “exceeding the limitations of the car and the surface on which you are driving, exceeding the car’s capacity to hold the road and perhaps even your own reflexes. It is a lighthearted gamble between
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Born Françoise Quoirez, Sagan grew up in a French Catholic, bourgeois family. She was an independent thinker and avid reader as a young girl, and upon failing her examinations for continuing at the Sorbonne, she became a writer.

She went to her family's home in the south of France and wrote her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, at age 18. She submitted it to Editions Juillard in January 1954 and it
“A Strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow. The idea of sorrow has always appealed to me but now I am almost ashamed of its complete egoism. I have known boredom, regret, and occasionally remorse, but never sorrow. Today it envelops me like a silken web, enervating and soft, and sets me apart from everybody else.” 108 likes
“It amused me to think that one can tell the truth when one is drunk and nobody will believe it.” 75 likes
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