Review published on July 9, 2017.
He doesn’t know how, but Jeanne-Pierre has fallen into the river Seine and caused his body considerable damage. He sits in his hospital bed and waits for his body to mend and we are privileged to share his thoughts and experiences throughout the weeks. Funny, short but really very sweet, we hear about the staff, patients and visitors that come in to see him, as well as snippets from his own life as he tries to pen some memoirs.
The book is snappy, with loads of quotable, funny lines and thoughts. I imagine this is a great translation as the text feels like it was written in English, rather than French, to begin with. Jeanne-Pierre is part grumpy old man, part warm and likeable. You can reflect with him on the acceptance and understanding of the physical and psychological aspects of ageing and recovery and feel like you are getting to see his somewhat narrow judgements and ideas of other people develop. He encounters such diversity in people as a 14-year-old mother, a male prostitute and some really lovely nurses, and the mixture makes his existence more pleasurable. These are important messages at these hostile times; the fear of the unknown is much worse than getting to know the unknown. We aren’t too old to change or learn new things. The hospital setting is relatable and a place for lots of laughs in sharp contrast to the grim things that go on there too.
I adored this book and would especially encourage people that don’t read much or are unsure if they can finish a book to give this a go. The veteran reader can also find a lot in it too, it is widely accessible, light-hearted and also beautiful.
Helen Corton 4/3
Get Well Soon by Marie-Sabine Roger
Pushkin Press 9781782272168 pbk Jun 2017
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