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A Matter of Feeling: 10/25/09
Pauline Moreau and her sisters live in a cozy house at the edge of Paris. They are distinct individuals with parents flexible enough to let them live as they see fit. The story is set in modern times but shares a kinship with Little Women and Pride and Prejudice. That being said, I enjoyed 0449700011A Matter of Feeling far more than either of the classics.
Pauline, the narrator balks at her name, wishing to be anyone else and not pleased with the burden of being named for grandfather. Claire is the oldest and most beautiful and goes by the nickname "princess." Bernadette is the tom boy of the family. Cécile, the youngest has a fascination with all things deadly and is forever referred to as "the Poison-Pot."
This novel is mostly a coming of age story for Pauline who has a relationship with a much older man. She has to sort out her teenage life with his adult responsibilities. Think of it as Lolita but written from her point of view. Boissard doesn't weigh in on the relationship. She lets it play out for the good and the bad and let Pauline find her own way.
In some ways the book reads like historical fiction instead of contemporary. Pauline and her sisters tend to use old fashioned language. It's part of their attempts at acting older than they are. The exception is Claire who is twenty-two and has adjusted well to adulthood. Were it not for the pop-culture references (like Top of the Pops) the book could easily be set in the 1870s instead of the 1970s.
I went into this book expecting to put it aside at 50 pages. I ended up enjoying it and feeling a little sad when I had finished it.