Gigi – 2 stars
This book is one for the dustbin of history assuredly. So much of Colette feels fresh and amazingly progressive and in the moments where they feel less so, then she often feels like she’s providing an undercurrent of built-in criticism in some interesting ways. This book does not feel like that at all. In fact, it feels oddly regressive for her, especially so late in her life and career when much of the rest of society had actually caught up to some of her earlier ideas.
So this is about a young woman being raised as a courtesan/consort and instead of this kind of life, she’s instead married off to a relatively young, but still significantly older man. And it’s treated as a kind of disruption of the life she planned to lead and seen as a kind of comedy of manners or played for laughs. Victorian romances already kind of hit on some uncomfortable truths about the marriage being promised in those novels. I mean Jane Eyre for one. But you can almost completely sigh in wonderful relief in a book like Persuasion where everybody is older, experienced, and of sound mind.
But this one, well, she was already going to be a prostitute, which is a complicated framework, but instead she’s married off at 16 to a 30 year old man who admits to grooming her for years! Well, great! I mean the movie version of this book was already incredibly creepy by the time it came out, and includes the song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” a song that is mostly used in political scandal movies.