Book Review: GIGI, by Collette

My copy of GIGI is approximately three inches square, and fifty-three pages long. I read it in a single afternoon, as a respite from the violent and creative deaths of E. Annie Proulx's characters (Accordian Crimes) and to give myself a brief bit of distance from Accordian so that I might return refreshed and with a new perspective, and so not miss a single beat of Proulx's stellar prose.

GIGI is a perfect respite. The story moves quickly, regardless of the French drawing room setting, and it is both funny and biting. Each conversation between fifteen-(and a half)-year-old Gilberte and her socially-minded, ladylike aunts is so liberally salted with such critiques on Gilberte's form and mannerisms that it makes me grateful to live in such a blatantly unladylike time period. "Don't gesture," Aunt Alicia reprimands, "it makes you look common." "Don't eat too many almonds; they add weight to the breasts," and so on. They barrage Gilberte relentlessly with lessons in decorum and class, and somehow Gilberte manages to resist, in an innocent, childlike way, their social bullying.

This was my first encounter with Colette, and I enjoyed the book, very much. GIGI is a light read that packs a punch, and now I'm antsy to get back to Accordian Crimes and to the bookstore to purchase another of Colette's books.


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