Jul 13, 2010

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

Lou Bertignac is super-duper smart. So smart, that she skipped two grades and is a veritable pariah. Her social skills are deeply lacking due to her overactive thought process and easy ability to get lost in a daydream of thought. Despite being petrified of public speaking, her professor has demanded her subject for her oral presentation. Lou mumbles something about homelessness and is off the hook. That is until she meets No.

No is a tough-as-nails street girl who took a liking to Lou. the girls begin to meet up on a regular basis to discuss the intricacies of being a young, homeless girl. No bounces between being defensive and overly-emotional as quickly as she bounces from the soup kitchen to a friend's couch. After watching her go through this, and after the presentation is done, Lou invites No to come live with Lou's family.

The girls learn a lot about many different things, but most importantly they learn about themselves. When No's past comes back to grab her, it will take all the girls have in common, and even the things that make them different, to keep her from slipping back into oblivion. With the help of trust school hunk Lucas, Lou & No just might be able to make both their hopes into reality.

Such a powerful novel! Delphine de Vigan has earned her awards for this little gem (Prix des Libraires 2008, Révélation Roman 2007 & Prix Littéraire du Rotary). There is such emotion and force behind not only the subject matter, but the characters. These girls feel so real to me. Lou was impeccably precocious and overly-intelligent for her age, and yet she maintained a sort of innocence. No was incredibly tragic, but stoic at the same time. She wanted to be able to trust someone enough to just let go, but her need for control made that very difficult.

This book was different from some other realistic fiction books that I've read primarily because it is French. As some of you may or may not know, my undergrad degree is in French & International Studies and I studied abroad in Angers, France for a semester. My love of the language, people, and culture is something that I carry with me every day and this book just took to my heart. Homelessness is a very large problem in France and what this book did was take a taboo subject and bring it to the forefront. Mme de Vigan is poetic and unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter. For that I say "Bravo." If your French is a little rusty, don't fret, this fantastic book is coming stateside in early August. Be sure to check it out! I leave you with a small snippet of Mme de Vigan's poetic words.

"And our silence is filled with all the world's impotence. Our silence is like the return to the origin of things, their true state." p.51 of the uncorrected advance proof.

Thanks to Around the World Tours for the opportunity to read this fabulous book!


Andrea said...

Sounds like a lovely and thought-provoking book. Nice review.

The Words Crafter said...

This sounds very intriguing...will look for it at B & N...thanks for the post.

Liviania said...

So you read it in the French? Impressive.

loreleimarsh said...

Sadly Liviania, I read it in English because that's what can from the ARC tour. But I'm Inter Library Loaning it in French. :D