Book Title/Author: Gigi, by Colette
Publisher/Year Published: The edition I read was published October 10th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It includes Gigi, Julie de Carneilhan, and Chance Acquaintances and was first published in 1976. Gigi was first published on its own in 1944.
How I got a hold of this book: I bought this book from the Marketplace at Amazon.com.
Why I read this book: I read this book simply because I wanted to read something by Colette. Her biography was taunting me and I felt like I needed to read a couple of things by her before reading it.
Rating: I give this book 3.5 stars because it was a cute story. I think it needed a bit more development, although I don’t know how Colette would have done this because the story was complete. (Does that criticism even make sense? Good. I’m glad you think so.)
A Brief Synopsis: Gigi is a fifteen-year-old girl who comes from a rather different family. It does not seem that her grandmother or mother ever married. Yet, Gigi’s grandmother and great aunt were grooming her to become marriageable. They lamented over how “odd and backward” Gigi was. A friend of the family often came to Gigi’s grandmother’s house, particularly when his failing relationships were splattered all over the newspapers. Though quite a bit older, his attention to Gigi shifts from friendly and uncle-ly to something else…but will Gigi accept him?
This story was pretty short. Only about 65 pages long. It felt undeveloped, yet I don’t know what else Colette could have done because they story played itself out. I am glad I read it because I want to read a few of Colette’s works before I move on to her biography. (I don’t know about you, but sometimes knowing too much about the author, say from reading their biography, before I read their work kind of ruins the work for me)
Another thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the characters. Gigi’s mother and grandmother kept commenting on how backward and undeveloped she was, but it seemed like they were the ones holding her back. She was very innocent and ditzy for a fifteen-year-old, especially one who supposedly had a rather bohemian childhood. She was pulled into two directions by her grandmother and great aunt, which added to the confusion she felt. Yet her decision and explanation at the end of the novella make you think that maybe she’s been fooling her family, and the reader, for the previous 60-odd pages. She ultimately exhibits a presence of mind and soundness of reasoning that don’t exactly jibe with her past characterization.
I also didn't like that the grandmother was pushing Gigi to marry even though she herself wasn't married and Gigi's mother didn't marry and Gigi's great aunt didn't marry...
I don’t know. Maybe I missed Colette’s ultimate goal.
I pictured Audrey Hepburn as Gigi because she was the stage version of Gigi. If nothing else, I have to laud this story because it was Colette who initially discovered Audrey, whom I adore.
I plan on reading more by Colette, as well as her biography, despite this not being my favorite.