This post is part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge.
Bonjour Tristesse is one of those novels misunderstood teenagers would love. Written in 1954 by an 18-year-old author, it tells the story of 17-year-old Cécile and her amoral and carefree father.
Cécile herself is not so squeaky clean either. She’s the epitome of a smart but spoilt-rotten teenager in the French Riviera, who’d rather spend her days lazing on the beach with a slightly older lover than studying as she should.
Her father Raymond is a young, widowed womanizer, whose latest flame Anne is not much older than his daughter, a fact Cécile resents. With her father fixing to marry a Anne, who is in her early 40s and treats her like the child she is, Cécile takes matters in her own hands trying to destroy her father’s relationship.
Considering Bonjour Tristesse was written by a teenager, the writing style is excellent. However, most of the characters act incredibly immature – adolescent even. Except Anne, who seems to be the only adult. It could be a reflection of the author’s age that all the people in the story are basically teenagers. Cécile’s motivation behind her scheme rings familiar to all adolescents who had to deal with having to share their single parent with someone new.
While the book is classed by some as a “Great Love Story,” I will have to disagree. The love is neither great, nor happy, and the protagonist’s devastating scheme only screams of immaturity and entitlement.
My Rating: ♥♥♥
Title: Bonjour Tristesse
Author: Françoise Sagan
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Release Date: June 17, 2008 (originally published in 1954)
Note: The version I read is an old family heirloom from 1961 with an orange cover. However, there is no copyright page or any indication where that particular version was published and I have been unable to find it online.