Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Review: THE END OF EDDY, by Édouard Louis
The End of Eddy is a tough read. Sitting somewhere between fiction and autobiography, Édouard Louis tells the story of himself as a boy, growing up in a blue collar town in northern France, a perpetual misfit- effeminate, bookish, and gay in a world where everyone had to be rough and tough.
What you get out of this book will depend on where your own focus is. What I related to was Eddy's (and I'm going to talk about this in terms of the character rather than the author, since it is ostensibly fiction) struggle to come of age in a community and a family that just didn't know what to do with him. For me he really nailed what it's like to grow up in a world where your possibilities are so limited, and where you face scorn for grasping at something better. The life offered to Eddy involved getting drunk, having sex with girls and working in the same factory that everyone worked in. And because he was different, his life in particular would involve endless, endless abuse and bullying.
It's the last bit that is the most harrowing- the constant day in, and day out harassment and stalking he endured at the hands of his classmates and the terror that that bred in him. It actually feeds his determination to attend a different high school than the one his parents had marked out, because Eddy doesn't want to encounter those boys ever again. Louis really makes the reader feel that fear. If you've ever experienced anything like it, you'll feel it even more. And there didn't seem to be much respite, even with his own friends or family, because he was always hiding and trying to fit in.
He does survive, and he does get out, but the book is a testament to the scars left behind. So I guess in conclusion I would say that I recommend the book but it is disturbing if ultimately hopeful. Louis's style is spare and unadorned, direct. It'll stay with you.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.