The List of My Desires

This book was recommended by the new salesgirl in Mary Martin in Southbank, Melbourne. It is definitely not my usual read but my interest was piqued and I wanted to try something different and the staff there all sold it so well that I thought I’d give it a go. Jocelyne has a very ordinary life full of small disappointments and small triumphs and she has a pragmatic view on life. When she wins the lottery her life is changed irrevocably. It is full of the ‘what ifs’ that such a life changing event would bring and as she reassesses her life she (and the reader) learns to accept the ordinary. The end will surprise and yet, it is what I would describe as a typically French ending that does not sentimentalise things. In many ways her story is a sad one but the writing is spare enough to pull back from over dramatising that and the emphasis is on her strength. There are enough shocks to keep the reader enthralled and the descriptions of her family are among the most interesting parts. There were one or two plot points that I felt were a bit too pat, but otherwise it was not predictable.

The compact use of language conveys the emotion in a way that more passionate language could not and I felt that it allowed me to see her more clearly than more overblown writing. It is a book that you will want to share with other women, yet it was written by a man. Gregoire Delacourt has done an excellent job of creating the voice of a middle aged woman and her friendships with other women.Its simplicity in style and lack of sentiment is an antidote to many of the other books in this genre. I read it in an hour and will definitely be passing it on. Jocelyne’s story is one to think of well after the book is finished.