So, this. This was not an enjoyable book. It is the story of author George Sand, born Aurore Dupin. I have not read anything by this historic author, and now I have the feeling that I never will, due to the fact that I dislike her so much due to this telling of her life.
If this book was meant to endear the character to me, it failed. I was not sympathetic to the character. She came across as selfish, bitchy, and boring. She “weeps” all the time and “falls into a despair.” I get it. Girl was depressed. We all get it. And it’s not like she doesn’t know the word “depressed” – no, she uses it to describe someone else in the latter part of the book! So get over yourself, your “periods of despair” are times of depression, and let’s move on. (To clarify, it’s not the depression I’m annoyed with – it’s the repeated use of the word “despair.”)
She is also a bit of a slut. It seems we can’t be introduced to a male character without them eventually banging. (There are a very few she doesn’t sleep with. Or does she?) She takes on lovers frequently, but it seems that she discards them rapidly. It’s like she keeps buying used cars, and can’t understand why they fall apart and don’t last. (That’s not the best comparison, as it is not fair to the men.) She “falls in love” frequently. I do find it amusing that while she has many lovers, before she started down her path of promiscuity, she was apparently really bad in bed. The approximate quote from her lover: “Could you help?” She’s hung up on the one female lover she had, Marie, and keeps talking about how she knows it will never be, but she would be with Marie if she could. (Although, from the descriptions of Marie and her character, I have no idea why.) It gets repetitive and a bit sad, to be honest. She needs to learn how to let things go.
She is also hypocritical. She goes on about her personal god, Coram, and then talks about her wish to become a nun in the Catholic church. I don’t think those can go together. She talks about being on the side of the people, yet she is an aristocrat. She ping-pongs back and forth from Paris to her country estate so often I’m surprised she didn’t get whiplash.
As for formatting, we start with two timelines – her childhood and her adulthood, with the childhood eventually catching up to where we started. While I’m sure this was meant to serve some purpose, it just kind of irritated me. While it’s nice to know she was happy with this person or that, you know it won’t last. Also, there will be a scene in the adult timeline with a “good and close” friend that we’ve never heard anything from before. I chose this book for the promise of appearances by Chopin and Liszt, but they didn’t really show up until the last two or three discs of the 10 disc set.
There were some sections that were nice. The descriptions of the countryside were lovely, and there are some lovely prose sections. But then the “story” kicks in and kind of ruins it. So for the brief bits of lovely prose and the lines that made me giggle, I shall be magnanimous and give the book 2 stars. (According to the Amazon page, this is a New York Times bestseller. I have no idea why.)