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Bonjour tristesse
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1001 book reviews > Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

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Dree | 243 comments 17-yo Cecile has spent 2 years living with her widowed father, and the previous decade or so at a convent school. Her father is 40-something, and bounces between women all the time. He loves women, and doesn't care if his daughter sees this behavior. She also smokes in front of him, and he allows her to drink to a bad hangover. Yes, this is France, but really at 17? A hangover after dinner with your dad? This does not sound typical to me. And Cecile isn't typical. She is like a Mean Girl on steroids. She is cruel, and manipulative, and narcissistic. She will hurt people she supposedly cares for just to get her way (but is constantly flip-flopping as to what "her way" is). She is cruel and selfish and somewhat of a sociopath. She claims she regrets things, but then thinks happy thoughts to forget the sad ones.

Cecile is not a nice person. Her age is irrelevant. The author was 18 when this was published, and supposedly it is based on her life. My edition had a section in the back with an author interview and various clips about the book/author from reviews around the world. She does not sound that different from Cecile herself. Selfish, a dangerous driver and party girl. She wrote because it was an easy way to make money. Her interview did not make me like the book more!

Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars

Teenage Cecile and her playboy father are living a carefree bourgeois existence on the French Riviera. All is happy until the father decides to marry.

I enjoyed this book. Hard to believe it was written by a 17 year old. Cecile and her dad are not really a sympathetic characters, but I think the book presents a good cautionary lesson (even if the main characters are oblivious to it).

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 483 comments Rating: 3 stars

I can see how this book caused some uproar when it was first published in 1954. It describes a lifestyle that I do not associate with the 50s at all. It's like the characters are stuck in the roaring 20s and anticipating the sexual revolution of the 60s. I'm not sure it has aged that well, but the writing is good and the strangely immature main characters are a bit fascinating.

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
Read in 2014.
Review: a story written by a young woman about a time when she was 17 on holiday on the French Riviera with her playboy father and his girlfriend. A tale of self absorbed adolescence rings still true today. It is the author’s first novel, she was 18 when it was published.

First sentence: A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow.

demimondaine: sexually promiscuous
Cassandra-like: to feel ignored

Quotes: All the elements of a drama were to hand: a libertine, a demimondaine, and a strong-minded woman.

Last words: Something rises in me that I call to by name with closed eyes. Bonjour, Tristesse!

the rating respects the talented writing by this young author, age 18. The narrator annoyed me.

Hilde (hilded) | 355 comments Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
Read February 2022, 3.5 stars

For some reason, I thought this book would be a short, but tough read. It wasn't, in fact it was a very easy read, and better than I expected. Provides good lessons about the ring effects of manipulation. As noted above by the others, the two main characters, Cécile and her father, were strangely compelling but unsympathetic, and understood to late the effects they had on others. Good thoughts on relationships at such a young age.

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