rosamund's Reviews > The End of Eddy

The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis
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did not like it
bookshelves: lgbt

The best thing I can say about this book is that it's a quick read. It tells the story of Eddy, who grows up in a village marked by grinding poverty in northern France. Though it's set in the 1990s, the story feels like it could take place any time in the last sixty years: the prejudice, poverty and hardship seem unchanging. Eddy, from an early age, is marked out as different by his "effeminate" mannerisms and lack of interest in football. The novel follows his childhood and adolescence, describing personalities in the village where he lives, and describing his parents. The book has no plot and is repetitive, returning to the same scenes and descriptions again and again. All characters lack nuance: though some sympathy is expressed towards Eddy's parents because of their poverty and physical limitations, they mostly seem like cartoon villains. It's hard to know for whom this story is written. Though it is not a memoir, it is based around the author's life, and it may have been cathartic for him to write about the suffering of childhood and the homophobic abuse he experienced. But it does not feel like a novel: it is disjointed, without narrative or emotional clarity.

As I read, I began to wonder if we really need another novel about homophobic bullying and abuse. Though the book is clearly not coming from a homophobic place, eventually reading narratives like this one come to feel like an act of violence towards the LGBT community. It's hard to see the place for a novel where there are no positives, no sense that things improve for the character, just suffering and misery -- we have been told this story so many times, and I am exhausted by it. I feel the author needs to bring something new, something illuminating, to this narrative, or the narrative fails. I do not recommend this book for anyone.
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Reading Progress

February 25, 2018 – Started Reading
February 26, 2018 – Shelved
February 27, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbt
February 27, 2018 – Finished Reading

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