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Report on Myself Paperback – January 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Original edition (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061896861X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618968619
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reminiscing about his loves and losses, writer Bouillier (The Mystery Guest) probes the murky shallows of his life in search of himself. Born in Algiers, he soon moves with his family to Aubervilliers, in France, where he almost dies from a staph infection that robs him of his sense of smell. Moving back and forth in time, Bouillier recalls his great loves, including his early crush on the sister of a friend. He experiences his first sexual stirrings when he glimpses his friend's mother rinsing herself at the bidet. The desire for sex then so consumes him that he engages in a pathetic episode with a prostitute and French kisses his mother (who responds eagerly) as his hand cups her buttocks. Along the way, Bouillier recounts his love of Frank Zappa, his feelings of alienation from the world, his parents' bohemian lifestyle and his use of the Odyssey as a code for understanding life. While his first book was a lyrical self-exploration, Bouillier here comes across as little more than self-indulgent. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

GR�GOIRE BOUILLIER is the editor of a scientific magazine and author of The Mystery Guest. Originally a painter, he published his first book at age forty. He has one daughter and lives in Paris, France..

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Customer Reviews

This makes the vast middle of the book rather confusing.
Zoeeagleeye
Every commonality of youth; alienation, sexuality, vulnerability, was freighted with such heaviness that eventually everything had equal weight, but no importance.
Brad Teare
It'll probably find some-reader-else else to impress, but i've heard too many of its lines.
Jessica L. Webster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Frenchman Gregoire Bouillier has had a colorful and downright strange life according to his "Report on Myself." This review's titular quote, snatched from his pithy and intriguing memoir, sums up the wild, double-edged nature of his existence so far. It's worth a voyeuristic visit.

In each chapter of this short book we drop into a random stage of Mr. Bouillier's life. His supremely dysfunctional parents fight, swing, cheat, and divorce, with the hapless young Gregoire irradiated by the fallout of their actions. I suppose if this were an American family the author would've rammed himself through years of hand-wringing therapy. Indeed some traumas, like his molestation by his older brother, would've rated entire books in our culture. But here that disturbing occurrence only gets a cursory paragraph. C'est la vie, I guess.

A running theme throughout "Report on Myself" is the influence of past occurrences on Mr. Bouillier's present circumstances. For example, as a child he experienced the sudden disappearance of a friend and his family, including the beautiful matron he became smitten with after accidentally seeing her nude. Later in life, one of his loves dumps him by pulling her own vanishing act (we see the aftermath in his other memoir, "The Mystery Guest"). He links events like these together in a synergistic fashion, as if the past was a dry run that equipped him to make sense of present distress. Even certain books, such as Homer's "Odyssey," lend structure to his journey. A little weird, but then again I've coped with reality in a similar fashion, so I'm glad to see that I'm not alone.

The major angst in the author's life results from his stormy romantic relationships.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Gibbard on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gregoire Bouillier is one of those authors whose almost unbearable sensitivity took him to the edge of madness but who stubbornly refused to give in to the chaos of his inner and outer world. His parents were bohemians who made little attempt to shield him from their disordered sex lives. His mother was suicidal and his father was ambivalent about the family. But Bouillier emerged triumphant from his ordeal, even though it left him on the brink of insanity. Now he turns the sort of self-referential, paleological thinking usually associated with schizophrenic disorders into a playful, almost cheerful autobiographical game of punning with words and coincidences that he shares with us. It's a fun ride, if sometimes a harrowing one.

At times, his frank confessions are quite disturbing. Nowhere is this more true than in his description of the three months he spent on unemployment, sleeping until dawn in stairwells, listening to voices in his head that ordered him to do things, writing obsessively in the margins of newspapers. The report of his mental breakdown is quite depressing, and he could have ended up institutionalized. But Bouillier's soul is made of a sort of rubber that always returns to its natural shape, refusing to be deformed by circumstances. He characteristically bounced back after reading Homer's Odyssey in a single night. In the Odyssey, he found a frame for his own life, a narrative worth pursuing, an existence worth living.

There is one amazing line from this book that sums up his entire life: "my ambition wasn't to exist in this world, but to make a world exist." That sort of existential courage makes his entire account worthwhile.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on December 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My feelings about Gregoire Bouillier's quasi-autobiography "Report on Myself" are mixed. I was pleased with the beginning, promising a good story, and I liked his prose, full of memories appearing in a flash. The great French tradition, reminding me of masters such as Colette and Proust, seemed to continue in this little book.

Additionally, the psychological twists and complications in the narrator's family life reminded me of Woody Allen, perhaps because of the times he describes (he was born in 1960). The stories grow wilder and wilder with each page, and the descriptions of Bouillier's love life and his bizarre adventures with his girlfriends become more and more surreal.

I loved his discovery of Odyssey, and how it makes his life and the book rooted in Western Civilization; I was the more interested because of my own cathartic experience with a book, interestingly also about Greece - it was "The Magus" for me...

Unfortunately, I found the book as a whole a little incoherent, the flashes and jumps between different moments of Bouillier's life chaotic, and I was bored with last 10 pages, although the book is tiny. Maybe the problem lies in its size: I felt like it was a sketch, material for a much more voluminous and developed memoir.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on January 14, 2009
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This short book is more of a few sketches of a life than a coherent memoir. Most of the sketches surround the author's women - girlfriends, his mother, a mother of his best friend and a prostitute he only just met (sort of).

There are two elements to the book. There are the recollections of incidents and then his philosophical analysis of those events. The anecdotes were amusing and interesting. The philosophizing was often nearly incoherent. Frequently, I had to just accept that a sentence made no sense either structurally or in context. This may have been, and hopefully was, due to the translation. Thus, there was much lost in the translation.

The anecdotes were amusing enough to keep me plodding through the somewhat rambling material in between but in toto, this book was mediocre.
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