Saturday, 29 October 2011

Just Finished Reading: No and Me

Is it just me that thinks that Richard and Judy seem like an odd coupling?  On first glance I'd imagine him with someone far more doe-eyed and delicate and  Judy to appreciative a rough and ready stubble bearing stud rather than her clean cut metrosexual husband.   But who am I to match-make?  My attempts in the past have been  truly woeful and my 'victims' have been known to beg me never to attempt to pair them off again!

The couple who declared their compatibility at every opportunity during  their frequent interviews when they were part and parcel of the British daytime TV scene are much more elusive these i days. Their  brave move from a mainstream channel to a smaller operator seems to have been the major factor in contributing to their on-screen demise.  However their bookclub still exists and now is exclusively linked to WH Smith.  It again teaches me another lesson about judging books by their covers.  Based on appearance alone, if I had to hazard a guess about their literary habits, I'd put Richard down as a reader of the Financial Times and Judy - well she'd be devouring Mills and Boons romances at a rate of knots.  Yet again I'm way off kilter  Their selections are very different to this and are often right up my own street.

No and Me, the first novel by the lyrically named Delphine de Vigan, is one of their choices which I've enjoyed hugely.  As a translation from its original French language edition it's been appropriate reading during my Breton holiday.  It's about a highly intelligent Parisienne, a nerdy, precocious, physically immature  adolescent who occupies herself carrying out bizarre social and scientific experiments which I found amusingly endearing and entirely in keeping with her character  However, my  own experience as a geeky academically inclined youth causes me to doubt the realism of her relationship with a homeless girl that she befriends during research for a school project and the class hunk who  falls for her.  The latter scenario just doesn't happen in secondary schools.  Young boys, even those with a thoughtful disposition, are much more inclined to veer towards the predatory uber-cool femmes fatales.  It's got something to do with a biological preference for beauty over brains!   Even so,  this is a touching well written story that addresses themes of youthful transition, mental illness and homelessness in a sensitive  intelligent way and as such I can recommend it as a story not to pass by if you come across in it a library or secondhand bookshop.

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