Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) by Francoise Sagan is ultimately France from a Bohemian point of view. Sagan wrote the book when she was only 18 years old, yet the story has a feeling of worldliness, experience, and adulthood. The story is thus: Cecile, a 17 year old girl, is our narrator as she and her father live their lives to the fullest in all aspects. Her father is "involved" with a younger woman named Elsa, cementing the trio as solid . . . but only for so long. During one summer, as Cecile and her father are on summer vacation, they receive a visitor - Anne, a friend of Cecile's deceased mother. Distinguished and graceful, she enters their lives once more with much poise and grace, thereby ensnaring Cecile's father and kicking Elsa to the curb. Thus begins Cecile's plan to get things back to the way they were, although consequences will be seriously paid.
I read this book in three sittings and enjoyed every minute of it. Sagan's descriptions enhanced the overall reading pleasure and made it more than just a book written by an 18 year old French girl. Love, despair, jealousy, sex, and even regrets play rather well with each other in this book. Seeing as how I'm a Francophile anyway, Bonjour Tristesse was like eating a delicious croissant with a hint of almond in it (yes, I love almond croissants and would actually pursue a degree in how to search for the perfect one, but I digress . . . actually, that might be a really cool blog post . . . )
VIVE LE FRANCE!