Wednesday, March 13, 2019

All Happy Families: A Memoir by Hervé Le Tellier

(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book: (release date March 26)

A prominent French writer delves into his own history in this eloquent reflection on dysfunctional family relationships.

Hervé Le Tellier did not consider himself to have been an unhappy child—he was not deprived, or beaten, or abused. And yet he understood from a young age that something was wrong, and longed to leave. Children sometimes have only the option of escaping, driven by their even greater love of life.

Having reached a certain emotional distance at sixty years old, and with his father and stepfather dead and his mother suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, Le Tellier finally felt able to write the story of his family. Abandoned early by his father and raised in part by his grandparents, he was profoundly affected by his relationship with his mother, a troubled woman with damaging views on love.

In this perceptive, deeply personal account, Le Tellier attempts to look back on trying times without anger or regret, and sometimes even with humor.

my thoughts:

Wow! Le Tellier has written an amazing book recounting his life, his family, and their story.  It is emotional, engaging, and unputdownable! I absolutely LOVED it. I found myself grabbing a cuppa, a cozy corner, and settling in for the night. And I just read, read, and read until I turned the very last page. Memoirs are quickly turning into one of my favorites genres - the history, the personal, and the relationships all make for a compelling story.

Le Tellier writes about his past with such openness and honesty, that you can't help but be pulled right in. He remembers his mother and the way his relationship with her impacted his life - as a child he couldn't see it or understand it, but now as an adult who has lived for decades (6 decades) he can see what was happening and why he felt the way he did as a kid (unsettled. ready to flee).  Time truly helps with perspective, which is precisely what Le Tellier needed in order to pen this memoir. The stories, the family - all of it combined show how dysfunctional people's lives can be and how everyone has something to deal with.  Life is not filled with only happy memories - the good and the bad rear their ugly heads from time to time. Such is real life.  And, Le Tellier captures the truth with such heartbreaking honesty. What a book!

Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs. This one sounds sad but I'd still like to read it.

Lark said...

Should I know this author? I don't think I'm familiar with any of his books.

Ti said...

Other Press puts out some great stuff.

Nadia said...

Kathy, me too! Definitely check it out :)

Lark, you should definitely know him now :) LOL! I just found him, too - with this book :)

Ti, they really do! My fave publishing house for books in translation!!

Brona said...

Sounds like exactly the kind of memoir I love to read. Angsty, thoughtful and redemptive.

Have you ever read Nadja Spiegleman's memoir? It was one of the most powerful, moving and generous family stories I've ever read - http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com/2016/09/im-supposed-to-protect-you-from-all.html
Your review made me think of it again. Thanks :-)