Thursday, September 12, 2013


Frank, perhaps a tad shocking, beautifully written Sophie Fontanel’s memoir The Art Of Sleeping Alone is a can’t-stop-reading memoir.  In a series of vignettes Fontanel tells us why she abruptly gave up sex, the reactions of others to this surprising decision, and insights into societal expectations.  That’s quite a bit for 151 pages but this author carries it off with aplomb.

Perhaps we needed a French woman to openly discuss this subject, whatever the case the translation of her first book to be published is unputdownable.  Fontanel’s observations and insights are sure, straight to the point, expressed in style.  (And why not?  She’s an editor at Elle France.)

This chronicle of her experiences may well be a touchstone for those who also might decide to do things differently.  Her admissions will be valued by young women and perhaps empowering to some.  As Fontanel has written, “Those who set themselves free have the whole universe before them.”

When she met her lover to tell him of her decision he was disbelieving.  He saw her shining face,  dancing eyes and could only conclude that she had fallen in love with another.  Her decision was surely a puzzlement to many.  She remembers this with poignancy and humor.

A woman friend disapproved of her appearance, thinking she should dress more attractively, we assume to interest a man.  The woman especially disliked Fontanel’s flat-heeled boots.  The author didn’t have the heart to tell her that these were the same style boots Chanel had worn, they were bespoke and she had to wait nine months for them.

And so it went in Fontanel’s remarkable journey.  Written with intelligence and flair you won’t want to miss The Art Of Sleeping Alone - promise your next book discussion group won’t be a dull one.

- Gail Cooke

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