Monday, 15 July 2013
The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt
What would it take to change your life? Jocelyne is 47. She lives in a small provincial French town, runs her own dressmaking shop, has been married to the same man for what seems like an eternity, has had two children and lives a very ordinary existence. In fact so ordinary that she is beginning to wonder what happened to her, to all those dreams she had when she was seventeen. Then comes the chance to change her life completely - but should she? For when Jocelyne begins to look at her life and its small pleasures - her friendship with the twins who run the hairdresser next door, her weekends away, her sewing blog - she realises that maybe ordinary isn't so bad. Until the decision is taken out of her hands...The List of my Desires is a wonderfully heart-warming novel about what we value in life and the search for happiness.
I found this book purely by chance while 'window shopping' through an online bookstore and was drawn to it by its pretty cover and the fact that the main character worked in a haberdashery shop - after reading and enjoying Kate Jacob's popular series set in a wool shop I had been after other books set in craft, haberdashery or wool shops. However this book is very different to Jacob's series and the haberdashery is not the heart of the story.
As soon as I started this book I couldn't put it down. It is a very individual and clever style of book - one which I would recommend to all. It is only a short book, 175 pages, and has very short chapters, making it perfect as a book to keep in a bag for commuting or as a holiday read.
I found the book to be very thought provoking - as I read it, I felt as if I was in Jocelyne's mind, reading her thoughts and going through the emotions along with her. The main storyline is how a women's life could potentially change following a win on the Euromillions lottery of over 18 million Euros. Jocelyne appears to have a satisfactory life, owning the haberdashery, living with her husband, who has overcome alcoholism but this has had a real effect on their life, and has two grown up children, although she also had a third baby who was still born, another element which has never been resolved.
From the outside, it looks like Jocelyne has a good life, however this is obviously not the case and this book is about her trying to decide whether this lottery win will make her life better. She keeps the cheque folded up inside a shoe in her wardrobe, but will she decide to bank the cheque or will the cheque be found by someone else - her children and her husband all are capable of devious behaviour?
The following story is well written and as I have previously mentioned, it felt to me that I was reading Jocelyne's thoughts and that I, as the reader, was watching her make the decisions and live her life with her. I found the story to be heart-warming and true to life. I think if the book had been written from a man's point of view it would of been a completely different story, whereas Jocelyne is considering, not only her own life, but those of the people around her, and not just her family, but the identical twins who meet with Jocelyne almost every lunch time for a chat and gossip. It is a story of love, but also of a regretted life story - I think Jocelyne would of made different choices along the way if she was to live her life again and she often thinks, what if???
The book was originally published in French and has been translated into English - nothing has been lost in translation. Unless you previously knew, a reader would not guess it was a translated tale that they were reading.
A cleverly written story, which I would recommend to someone who wanted a quick read, or who wanted a story about real life, with real life choices needing choices to be made.
Thank you to the publishers, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, for sending me the book in return for an honest review