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The End of Eddy

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  9,612 ratings  ·  1,112 reviews
Édouard Louis grew up in a village in northern France where many live below the poverty line. His bestselling debut novel about life there, The End of Eddy, has sparked debate on social inequality, sexuality and violence.

It is an extraordinary portrait of escaping from an unbearable childhood, inspired by the author’s own. Written with an openness and compassio
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published February 2nd 2017 by Vintage Digital (first published January 2nd 2014)
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Pierre I've just finished the book and had exactly the same question. There was no previous character mentioned by the name Tristan (which anyway is too…moreI've just finished the book and had exactly the same question. There was no previous character mentioned by the name Tristan (which anyway is too bourgeois to be given to a village boy) so I assumed that he was one of his new 'friends' and just when he thought he had left al his problems behind him, history repeats itself. IMO(less)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Larry H
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.

"Words like affected or effeminate could always be heard in the mouths of adults around me: not just at school and not only by the two boys. They were like razor blades that would cut me for hours, for days, when I heard them, words I picked up and repeated to myself. I told myself over and over that they were right. I wished I could change. But my body would never obey me, and so the insults would start up again."

Eddy Bellegueule, a young man
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A promising, if imperfect, first novel, The End of Eddy suggests the start of an illustrious career as a gay writer for Louis. As a commentary upon toxic masculinity or white supremacy in France, the novel offers little that is new; Eddy’s obsession with becoming “a tough guy,” while adeptly portrayed, reads as conventional and, at times, tired. Far more interesting are the many strange formal techniques of the novel. The first part’s impressionistic focus on the social life of Eddy’s village, t ...more
A brief but unrelenting autobiographical novel about growing up gay and poor in Northern France. This was originally published in French in 2014, when the author was just 21. Since then it has sold 300,000 copies in France and been translated into 20+ languages. It can be hard to read scenes such as the one where Eddy has his – not entirely consensual or wholesome – sexual initiation. But there is also something cathartic about them, particularly since readers learn early on that Eddy makes it o ...more
Jim Coughenour
Only in France would a fictionalized memoir about a brutalized sissyboy be underpinned by the sociological theory of Pierre Bourdieu. Only in France would it be a phenomenon: En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule was published in 2014 – it's just been translated into English and a score of other languages. Édouard Louis (only 19 when he wrote this book) has been compared to Knausgaard and Ferrante. How much is hype?

Not too much, in my view. It's a solid little story; it takes place in the impoverished towns of
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Another read from the Tournament of Books shortlist, about bullying and masculinity and its impact on a gay boy coming of age in a French factory town. Translated from the French and largely autobiographical, it's not a cheery read, but thought-provoking and full of truths and realities.

Compared to a recent read, The Heart's Invisible Furies, which wraps a gay coming of age story in a larger narrative about cultures changing (or not) and AIDs, this is a much narrower, more rural, and more focused view
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, br
For me this was an eyeopener of a book which helps explain the current political situation in Europe.

Our first reaction to poverty is to distance ourselves from it, by blaming those in poverty. They live that way because they are slackers, they are lazy, etc etc. But that would then mean that people who have more are not lazy, are not slackers and from my experience that is simply not true. I know people who have money, a 'good' job etc and who are habitual avoiders of sweat and work. It is mu
Leo Robertson
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Google Edouard Louis so you can learn what he looks like, because if you ever see him in the street, you are to immediately hug him and don't stop hugging him until he's like, 50.

Does anyone know him? Can you call him or put a hand on his shoulder and ask if he's okay?

I had reservations about this one initially because I thought it was just another Dave Pelzer child sadness porn (and that may attract readers, but they won't leave without learning something—nice try!!)—but
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, france
"The End of Eddy" / "Das Ende von Eddy"
Édouard Louis (fka Eddy Bellegeule) does it all: He just finished his stint as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and next Monday, he'll give his first lecture at Freie Universität Berlin (it's public, so go there, people!). Also, he has become one of the most important voices in France, his books sell like crazy, and his opinions on the working class and the Alt-Right are published in the New York Times ("The End of Eddy" / "Das Ende von Eddy"
Édouard Louis (fka Eddy Bellegeule) does it all: He just finished his stint as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and next Monday, he'll give his first lecture at Freie Universität Berlin (it's public, so go there, people!). Also, he has become one of the most important voices in France, his books sell like crazy, and his opinions on the working class and the Alt-Right are published in the New York Times ( Oh, have I mentioned that this guy is 25?!

"The End of Eddy" was his first book, published in 2014, and it is an account of him growing up as a gay kid in a poor family in the Picardie. Similar to his friend and mentor Didier Eribon, Louis describes the structural undercurrents that shape this ailing rural community and that drive the inhabitants of the village to behave as they do: The hard, repetetive work in the factories or as cashiers; the toxic masculinity and reactionary female stereotypes; the suspicion against education and the educated; the alcoholism. Roles and behaviors are inherited over generations, and so is poverty.

Eddy Bellegeule, who is gay, loves theatre and aims to go to university, does not fit in, he is perceived as a source of shame and a target of humiliation. As a kid, that must have been hell for him, but reading his account, it becomes clear that those who torture him also suffer tremendously (which is certainly no excuse for their hate and neglect). Eddy aims to become a regular member of the community, playing soccer, telling gay jokes and trying to convert himself to heterosexuality, but of course he fails and finally flees.

There are several questions that one might ask here: First of all, I am always having trouble with Eribon's deterministic view which shines through here as well, but way less extreme. While society puts up tremendous, unfair obstacles against the class depicted in the book, these people still have a free will. Not being able to exercise it to a degree that other classes can due to outside circumstances is a terrible injustice, but it does not mean that free will is taken away from the lower working class - Eribon and Louis left their homes, for example. From a wider perspective, this is of course no solution: The working class needs better living and working conidtions, and Louis is an advocate for this.

Another question would be whether this is ficton or non-fiction. Louis says that what is described in this book happened to him, while some people who are characters in the text saw certain parts differently. I guess this is no contradiction: The book his highly personal and based on memory, many characters look really bad in this story, so I guess some are ashamed while others really believe in a different course of events. "The Ende of Eddy" is about Louis' perspective, and that is his prerogative as an author.

I am really excited to read more from Louis, and to see where he will be going in the future. His third book, Qui a tué mon père, seems to be a piece of social advocacy and sounds fascinating. Oh, and his second book History of Violence is really good as well.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a tour de force of a coming-of-age novel. The author is only 21. The book recounts his childhood in a Picardy village among the rural poor, where unemployment, alcoholism, racism and homophobia are rife -just like the stereotype the rest of France has of the North in fact. The French underclass has scarcely been written about since Zola, and almost never by someone who grew up in it as far as I know. This is terrific, full of sadness and tenderness, without hatred but with great love, and humour ...more
Vicky "phenkos"
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
Édouard Louis (aka Eddy Bellegueulle) has become something of a phenomenon in his native France with his best-selling, autobiographical novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule. The book chronicles Eddy's childhood in a small village in rural Northern France -- a place left behind by time and economic development. Eddy is gay and also -- crucially -- "effeminate", which for the traditional men and women of the village is anathema. In that place, boys are brought up to be tough, which means macho little bastards ...more
This book is a rather bleak coming of age tale about growing up poor in the working class villages of the north of France. It was hailed as a literary phenomenon: the author is 21, and he describes in this memoir the incredibly harsh reality of growing up in a part of the world where people work in the same plant generation after generation, where alcoholism is a hereditary as employment, where racism and homophobia are normal attitudes and where gender roles are stereotypical to the point of ca ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, memoir
4.5 rounded down

Blimey. I'm not quite sure what to say about this. This is marketed as a work of fiction, but it seems (from the little I've read online about the book) that almost everything that takes place in the book parallels Édouard Louis's life - the protagonist is called Eddy, was born in rural northern France in the early 90s, grew up in a life of misery and poverty. Eddy is subjected to daily abuse from his family and classmates because he is gay and "different" - something that m
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
I've long had a bone to pick with gay male lit: how the coming-out narrative has been sidelined, has gotten such short shrift since the mid-to-late-80s. As if all that bullying, fear of violence, homoerotic yearning and anxiety became passé—even embarrassing—and could no longer be depicted.

So I was delighted to encounter in this new and newly-translated French novel such a raw, accurate account of preadolescent gay sexuality and homophobic bullying, i.e., what coming out is still lik
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

This book of fiction reads like a memoir. From what little research I did on it, the book is about the authors years of struggling growing up in an environment that he didn't fit into, that didn't accept him and that he himself tried to revolt against. It must be a common story sadly, the extreme poverty didn't help. One of the hardest books I have read since A Little Life, not an enjoyable read.
Maru Kun
Only a few years after being beaten up in the narrow corridor outside the school library Eddy was writing a Manifesto for an Intellectual and Political Counteroffensive, published on the front page of Le Monde and translated for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
"...If we want to redefine and transform the intellectual and political scene, it is urgent that we adopt some ethical principles for thought and action:

1. Principle of refusal: escape the imposed debates, refuse to recognize the validity of certain
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 This short quick read, an international bestseller and cause célèbre in France, was a mite disappointing, perhaps due to my own inflated expectations. I am not even quite sure why it is called a 'novel', since it is clearly autobiographical; the original title translates more accurately as 'To Finish With Eddy Bellegueule', which was the author's birth name. Reviews praised its Faulknerian language, but, perhaps due to poor translation, this is not very apparent here - the prose is competent ...more
Jonathan Pool
I can’t imagine many people will say they ‘enjoyed’ reading The End of Eddy.
In equal measure.
This is a brutal autobiography, a childhood of hard knocks in a wasted community.

It’s not a plot driven book, it’s not subtle, and it’s not fiction.

Such a book needs powerful imagery, visceral language that arrests the reader. The End of Eddy is not that book. ...more
Marius Paulsen (Antari-kun)
Heartbreaking, tender, and just raw. If you want to try something that will tug on your heartstrings, then this is for you. Highly enjoyed this emotional ride.
Conor Ahern
Whew, this was a tough one. And not really what I was expecting.

I had been preparing myself for a book about bullying and tortured adolescence. Certainly that's a primary motif, but I was impressed and unprepared for the other heavy themes that pervade this work: extreme white poverty in a non-American "First World" setting, and its perilous admixture with toxic masculinity.

"The End of Eddy" chronicles the disturbing, violent, and neglected upbringing of its author, a young man from Picardy, i
30th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist - Gay Fiction

Gay Fiction:

After the Blue Hour Grove Press
The Clothesline Swing, Nightwood Editions
30th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist - Gay Fiction

Gay Fiction:

After the Blue Hour Grove Press
The Clothesline Swing, Nightwood Editions
The End of Eddy, Straus and Giroux
Fimi Sile Forever: Heaven Gave It to Me, Team Angelica
The Heart's Invisible Furies, Hogarth
Less, Lee Boudreaux Books
Outside Is the Ocean, University of Iowa Press
This Is How It Begins, She Writes Press

This book was a SHOCK for me.

The events that take place in this book happen - I don't want to offend anyone here, but just imagine a random poor country - NOT in a poor country somewhere in the 1950s or 1960s.
It is modern FRANCE of the 21th century. Eddy was born in 1992! Well there are memories of the protagonist's father who was born in the year 1967, but honestly, I didn't see a lot of difference between these two generations. I'm totally shocked.

It is an autobiography, but you wouldn't know this fact if you are not acquainted with the author's personality. There are some interviews with him and some videos on YouTube. I was totally unaware of the fact that this very private story was written by Eddy himself and that this moving novel is a true story. I don't know if I want to hug him in the first place for his courage and honesty or because of my deepest compassion for his childhood and what he had to come through as a kid and as a teen.

I read it in one sitting, it was impossible to put it down.
I'll never look at France in the same way again. ...more
Eric Anderson
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s difficult enough for many gay people to come out, but for a boy to grow up gay in a working class family in rural France presents its own unique challenges. Eddy, the hero of debut author Édouard Louis’s semi-autobiographical novel, comes of age in the late 90s and early 2000s in a large family that treads close to the poverty line. Almost all the young men in their small town within the Picardy region work in the local factory once they are legally allowed to leave school at an early age. ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I had to get away.

Eddy can't get away from who he is or what he was born into, but he sure as hell can get away from those people in that village...that small village where nothing ever changes.

...but can he get away? Is it the same everywhere? What you are, what you've become, what you've denied, how you've conformed, where you go from here?

In some aspects, yes, you can get away from all these things - people will treat you differently if you seek that out, if you get away.
The End of Eddy is a semi-autobiographical novel that deals with homophobia and classism in the countryside of France. From reading the title I wasn’t sure if the end of Eddy was the becoming of a man or the shattering of one’s soul. Indeed the reader isn’t given much hope as Eddy suffers scene after scene of bullying by classmates and his family as well as sexual abuse. This is certainly a hard read. Depressing, provocative even. Unfortunately Edouard Louis’ story is an altogether too common one. M ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is labeled a novel, but it is autobiographical novel about a boy growing up gay in a small, poor village in northern France, and it is a painful portrayal of the French working class and the racism and homophobia that its author grew up surrounded by. It is also an eye-opening slap in the face for readers like me, who think in contemporary France the bad old days are far behind us for young people like Eddy. I was confronted with what kind of story this is on the first pages, when Eddy’s fa ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
I decided to read this book after seeing the author highlighted in Kirkus and reading the comparison with Knausgaard (KOK) on the book jacket.

I was also interested because it caused a sensation in France when it was released, and it details some of the harsh social conditions that have contributed to the Far Right party's rise in France.

It's a short book that covers some very serious topics, but somehow it's all conveyed with a complete lack of emotion. The only similarity I can see with KOK i
Andy Weston
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful, disturbing and profoundly sad novel from a 24 year old author, which I expect has many of the elements from his own childhood.

The story is narrated by Eddy, as an adult looking back at his life. His family live in poverty. He has an effeminate voice and way of walking and is mercilessly bullied at school and in the village. This is set in rural France in the early 2000s and is an accurate portrayal of working class village life, and an eye-opener for anyone who might think t
Pre-book group review
The End of Eddy was chosen as the monthly book for the translated fiction reading group I’ve started attending, and to begin with I was really, really excited to get started. The front and back covers are filled with praise for the novel, saying how “mesmerising” and “rare” it is. However, I found that halfway through the story, I had already clocked out.

Don’t get me wrong - I understand how important novels like this are, as they act as stepping stones towards conv
Ulysses Dietz
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The End of Eddy (En Finir Avec Eddy Bellegueulle)
By Édouard Louis
Editions du Seuil, 2014 (2017)
Four stars

“At this age, to succeed would have meant to be like everyone else. I tried everything.”

“The End of Eddy” is an eloquently grim little memoir that effectively eliminates every romantic notion one ever might have had about France or the French. I read it in the original French, both as an exercise to reawaken my skills, but also to get the flavor of th
Richard Newton
I toyed between 4 and 5 stars, but in the end plumped for 5 as much for the effect the book creates as for the immediate pleasure of the writing. This is at times a shocking book about a boy who is different, mainly because he is gay although he seems an outsider in many ways, living in a working class village in rural France. He receives some very unpleasant treatment - including daily beatings from other boys. However, the most shocking thing is not his treatment, unfortunately because I have ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Édouard Louis est un écrivain français né le 30 octobre 1992. Édouard Louis, né Eddy Bellegueule, grandit à Hallencourt (Somme) avant d'entrer en classe de théâtre au lycée Madeleine Michelis d'Amiens. De 2008 à 2010 il est délégué de l'académie d'Amiens au Conseil national de la vie lycéenne, puis étudie l'histoire à l'université de Picardie.

Il poursuit à partir de 2011 des études de
“It took me a long time to understand that she wasn't being incoherent or contradictory, but rather that it was I myself, arrogant class renegade that I was, who tried to force her discourse into a foreign kind of coherence, one more compatible with my values—that incoherence appears to exist only when you fail to reconstruct the logic that lies behind any given discourse or practice. I came to understand that many different forms of discourse intersected in my mother and spoke through her, that she was constantly torn between her shame at not having finished school and her pride that even so, as she would say, she'd 'made it through and had a bunch of beautiful kids,' and that these two modes of discourse existed only in relation to each other.” 5 likes
“De mi infancia no me queda ningún recuerdo feliz. No quiero decir que no haya tenido nunca, en esos años, ningún sentimiento feliz o alegre. Lo que pasa es que el sufrimiento es totalitario: hace desaparecer todo cuanto no entre en su sistema” 3 likes
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