Both Colette’s life story and the vast majority of her books read like a really far-fetched story arc on Sex and the City… if SATC was set in turn-of-the-previous-century Paris. While Colette is probably best known here in the United States for the novella Gigi (the inspiration for the Leslie Caron musical of the same name) at one time she was practically a one-woman industry in France. Her four Claudine novels, which were written in Colette’s early twenties and featured the racy adventures of a French schoolgirl, were wildly successful and spawned a line of side products: Claudine-themed cigars, soap, and perfume. Colette’s novels were all more or less autobiographical and focused heavily on the balance between feminine strength and sexuality. She died a French national hero in 1954.

Note: I’m not a fan of musicals, and the musical Gigi commits the double crime of completely changing the last half of the story and featuring the song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” (which I find particularly nauseating), but if you’re into that kind of thing it’s not bad. I guess.

None, but if you saw the musical and plan to read the book on my recommendation, please don’t get all huffy with me when it doesn’t have the ending you expect, okay?

Colette’s stuff is all beautifully written, but Gigi is the only one I would describe as Wordcandy. It’s usually released as one of a collection of short stories and should be available everywhere.

Other Recommendations:
Roman Fever, by Edith Wharton
Posted by: Julia


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