by Paul Hofman in Films & Books , 24 augustus 2016
The latest book by French author Anna Gavalda titled “Billie” (translated by Jennifer Rappaport, New York: Europa Editions, 2015) is a very readable book. The protagonist Billie is a coarse trailer-trash girl and, with Franck, an outsider at school.
Franck is an outsider because he is a fragile young gay guy. When they have to do a scene from a play together, this literally and figuratively results in fireworks. It is the beginning of a life-long friendship. Even when they loose sight of each other, they can always count on each other. Then, they decide to begin a new life in Paris, where they hope to find ultimate freedom.
From Billie’s perspective, we see the world with all of its (im)possibilities. Her lesson in life is not to expect too much from life. The story grips you from first to last. In short, vibrant sentences and with sharp observations, the story touches the reader. Gavalda perfectly describes homophobia, gender, and origins. Her characters are deep, and the language uttered by Billie and Franck is harsh at times, but honest. I think it is a powerful book that sparkles and leaves the reader speechless at times.
The message? Love conquers all. It is a great book to bring on a holiday!
Anna Gavalda titled “Billie”
translated by Jennifer Rappaport, New York: Europa Editions, 2015
Dutch version available at Vrolijk, www.vrolijk.nu