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on November 23, 2003
`Bonjour Tristesse' is a typical French coming-of-age story. Written in the 1950s' it was an instantaneous scandal for dealing so clearly with teenagers and their sexuality. The times have change, we see the world in a different way, adolescents are the same, but this novel still holds the interest.
Cécile is a precocious seventeen-year-old girl who travels to the French Riviera in the company of her father and his mistress. She is used to having different women around with her father all the time. But when he decides to marry one of them, Cécile and her lover Cyril decide to do something to stop him. Meanwhile, she is also learning about life, love, sex and pleasures. All these life-changing experiences will make the girl grow up towards to womanhood.
Françoise Sagan writes about something she knew, and it makes the book very interesting to read. Her prose never sounds fake or far-fetched. Although, it is a little dated --some of Cécile's acts that were daring by that day are just `normal' nowadays-- it has not lost its freshness. The Riviera settings are beautifully described, and we're often asking what the girl will do next.
It is undeniable it is a novel about that time in our lives when we're not a child any more and not yet an adult. With a mind filled with questions, we're trying to define who we are and will be in the future to come. Cécile has to face tragic events to understand what her life is and what it will be like for the next years. While many consider her being a spoilt little brat, this is the time when she is forced to stop being that, and see she won't have her father papering her forever.
`Bonjour Tristesse' opens with a powerful paragraph that reads: `A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the name of sadness'. At this point, had we any doubts it is a book about teenage angst, they are all dissipated.
Sagan wrote this novel when she failed to pass her examination at Sorbonne. The book became an international best seller and also a movie. While `Bonjour Tristesse' is a short and quick book, it is a good work of fiction, and probably Sagan's masterpiece.
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on March 1, 2010
Jealousy and insecurity can often lead us to commit cruel acts that we later regret. Although this coming of age story was written in the 1950's and by a young woman who was not much older than her own heroine, it's a plot that resonates with anyone who has ever felt responsible for restoring the status quo within their immediate family. The fact that the divorce rate has increased significantly in the last half century means that more offspring than ever before are dealing with parents who are breaking up, re-entering the dating pool, and (horrors!) marrying new people without their children's permission. At the same time, the youth themselves are desperately trying to define themselves emotionally, spiritually and sexually. While today's teens may snicker at the "scandal" of Francoise's fictional counterpart's yearning to leave childhood innocence behind, the underlying message about the consequences of tangled webs and deception is timeless.
Christina Hamlett
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on September 6, 2002
Francoise Sagan is a brilliant French writer, who here has written an intriguing novel about a young lady's 'coming-of-age' while on Holiday by the sea. What I appreciate about Sagan's works most of all is her style. She writes very subtly, almost tenderly at times, but what comes out of these impressions is incredible clarity into the inner human workings ans spirit. She deals with huge and incredibly moving emotional matters and life-changing experiences with the grace of an unassuming, yet very beautiful bouquet. Perhaps only French writers writing in French can do this (but this English translation maintains some of the original affect). It's like the hidden waters of the subconscious are feeding Sagan's stories, and especially 'Bonjour Tristesse' with eternal messages about life, love, fear, uncertainty, and Destiny. The parvenu paramour in 'Bonjour Tristesse' finds love without becoming jaded by the experience. Yet, she leaves us with elegaic afterthoughts. This is just brilliant literature.
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on September 13, 2002
Francoise Sagan is a brilliant French writer, who here has written an intriguing novel about a young lady's 'coming-of-age' while on holiday by the sea. What I appreciate about Sagan's works most of all is her style. She writes very subtly, almost tenderly at times, but what comes out of these impressions is incredible clarity into the inner human workings and spirit. She deals with huge and incredibly moving emotional matters and life-changing experiences with such grace. Perhaps only French writers writing in French can do this (but this English translation maintains some of the original affect). It's like the hidden waters of the subconscious are feeding Sagan's stories, and especially 'Bonjour Tristesse' with eternal messages about life, love, fear, uncertainty, and Destiny. The parvenu paramour in 'Bonjour Tristesse' finds love without becoming jaded by the experience. Yet, she leaves us with elegiac afterthoughts. This is just brilliant literature.
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on October 16, 2008
The complicated, back-and-forth emotions between the narrator and her relationships with the people around her astutely mimic adolescent insecurity and unawareness. Written when she was only eighteen, Sagan's novel of the destructiveness of ennui and naivete thus easily gets into the mind of a teenager. The thoughts written down are so commonplace to youth, that one will find themselves underlining whole passages due to their precise accuracy. Indeed, Bonjour Tristesse is more philosophical and devastating than many coming-of-age stories. Unsentimental, although sometimes laborious and heavy-handed, especially in Part One, the novel reveals the despair of wanting another to know one's thoughts, and the anguish of realizing the consequences of one's actions in the world of adult theatrics. The lyricism of the prose is ethereal and is eerily reminiscent of the work of fellow French writer Albert Camus. Simple stylistically yet complex in symbolism, Sagan has penned a tome that would make any psychologist tremble at the amount of material present to analyze and dissect.
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on March 17, 2000
I found Bonjour Tristesse an incredibly moving and stimulating book, which I would recommend to anyone who is intruiged by the emotions that a young woman goes through during her adolescense. The book touched on love, her relationship with her father and the other women that enter her and her fathers life. Sagan writes with a flowing and very realistic style, which I found interesting to read. A really fresh and thought provoking book with an excellent ending.
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on December 11, 2005
good-bye sorrow? yeah, right.

brutal in it's careless cruelity- sparse, precise, and written in a language belying sagan's young age, bonjour tristesse is a twisted little french treasure you can easily read in an afternoon.

a delight.
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on May 20, 2005
Cécile, une jeune fille de 17 ans, va passer quelques jours de vacances sur la côte d'Azur avec son père, un homme frivole, et sa maîtresse Elsa. Une ancienne amie, Anne, une femme intelligente et raffinée va bouleverser la vie insouciante et tranquille de ce trio. Cécile, jalouse de cette incursion dans la vie de son père et dans sa propre vie, va demander à son petit ami Cyril de simuler une relation amoureuse entre lui et Elsa pour couper court à cette nouvelle vie imposée par cette femme et aux projets de mariage décidés par son père et Anne. La manigance de Cécile va pousser son père dans les bras de son ancienne maîtresse. Tous deux surpris par Anne, celle-ci s'enfuit et meurt das un accident de voiture. Cécile connaîtra alors un sentiment nouveau dans sa vie: la tristesse.

Publié en 1954 , alors que Françoise Sagan n'avait que 21 ans, le roman a fait scandale: l'écriture était trop libre pour l'époque.Roman à la fois innocent et pervers, il n'a pas vieilli et ce n'est pas tant la maturité de la jeune femme sur la vie qui nous interpelle toujours mais l'analyse fine et lucide de la complexité des sentiments d'une jeune femme qui découvre tout de la vie.
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on November 24, 2013
A seventeen year old girl and her father are stumbling through life after the death of her mother, his wife. The father is a poster child for poor parenting; he brings a series of women into the home and takes his daughter to parties and casinos where she interacts with much older men, dancing, drinking and smoking. (After all, this is France.) Finally he may settle down and marry one of the women but the daughter, dreading rules and regulations, bed-time and study hours, spins a web of intrigue around them. The result? Well, let’s remember the title translates as “Hello Sadness.” (The book is translated from the French.) As I was reading this very short book (you can read its 127 pages in one sitting) I occasionally thought that it was a bit of stretch to believe that a seventeen-year-old girl could philosophize this deeply about love, life and men, and then I read that the author was nineteen when she wrote this book. Amazing!
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on July 17, 2006
This was my first reads by Francoise Sagan, and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. Considering her age when this story was published, Bonjour Tristesse is very well written and thought out indeed.

The prose floats along so easily, that it reads more like a novella. I finished it in an afternoon, and this is also an excellent beach or coffeeshop read. I also loved Sagan's depiction of the French way of life, and how with some of her descriptions, you feel as if you are transported to Paris or the Riviera.

The only problem with this story that I could find is that some of the details did not have enough depth, and that the narrator could be almost vapid. However, Francoise Sagan was very young at the time, so it hardly matters.

I'm reading The Painted Lady at the moment, which is considered to be Sagan's major novel. I am looking forward to reading more by this very whimsical and creative author, and recommend Bonjour Tristesse to any person who is interested in French culture, the 1950s time period, or a just a pleasant read to make the afternoon go by. Bonjour Tristesse definitely qualifies, and the beach reads today hardly hold a candle to this gem of a story.
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