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The End of Eddy

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Review of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey

 

This is a novel based on Louis' own upbringing, growing up in the 1990s in northern France (a small village in the Picardy region). To this life, Eddy is born as his father's first and mother's third child (her first husband died from cirrhosis of the liver). His father also seems to be going to go that way, with an alcohol problem mixed with a fighting problem. His father's alcohol fuelled rages often descending into tirades against homosexuality.

 

Eddy as a boy is effeminate and this causes difficulty as where he is growing up, an importance is placed on the gender roles of masculinity and femininity (indeed this showed when eddy's father was annoyed when he found out in the home care job that his mum was doing, she was earning €1,000 so had forced her to give it up), role that as a boy Eddy doesn't fit. His father found it humiliating when he had to try to find reasons why young Eddy didn't want to play football. Eddy was also better friends with girls than with boys (later on when refering to boys he hung around with, he would use mates  italicised to indicate that he didn't really feel that way.

 

Despite this, the homophobia expressed by his parents, there are some tenderness in their relationship and his father despite some protestations, does love Eddy as shown

 

in the end of the novel, when he gives Eddy the lift to the train station for his audition at the stage school.
 

 

I could really identify to the problems in part 1 that Eddy experienced, trying to fit in in gender roles when you don't naturally fit in to them. Part 2 not so much but part 1 about the difficulty of trying to fit in to an ideal that you don't fit into, I can relate.

 

There is a brutal honesty in the narrative which I appreciated. It was a novel I really liked and a real credit to Louis' writing.

 

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Edited by iff

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