Posted by: Ele Quigan | November 7, 2010

‘No and me’ Delphine de Vigan

I quite enjoy reading crossover teen/adult fiction. Often they are quite an easy read, usually on interesting subjects – and essentially quite short and pack a punch. This is no different…

Based in Paris, a young (I guess naive would be a better word) precocious 13 year old girl is tasked with creating a presentation – being completely unprepared, she blurts out that her presentation is going to be on the homeless. Of course this means meeting up with a homeless person, and predictably about how she tries to get her off he streets.

In saying that this novel has an absolute bleakness to it – that pervades it like a dark cloud. With a mother with problems and a father who just tries to act as if everything is okay – the close-knit family isn’t exactly what it seems.

Our female protagonist has a few unusually OCD or even mildly aspergers coping mechanisms such as counting, testing and investigating everything from toilet roll comparison to additives in food – which makes for an interesting side element to the overall story.

To be honest what happens isn’t surprising or unpredictable, but it is however sad, and surprisingly emotional and touching. I was finishing it on the train back from Richmond yesterday and felt myself tearing up – never nice to be crying on public transport in London!

It’s very well written, almost lyrical in its prose – which is a style I always enjoy. It’s rich in emotion and feeling, and while the characters aren’t fully explored they’re still portrayed in a way that gives more of a sense of their background and why they behave the way they do.

I think it would be an interesting book to have in a 3rd form school curriculum, mostly because it’s more interesting than the other books I remember reading, and provides an interesting ‘what would you do’ point of view.

In general, I really enjoyed this novel, would absolutely recommend it to other people, and would probably read it again!

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