The End of Eddy

The End of Eddy

Book - 2017
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"Every morning in the bathroom I would repeat the same phrase to myself over and over again. Today I'm really gonna be a tough guy." Growing up in a poor village in northern France, all Eddy Bellegueule wanted was to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors. But from childhood, he was different -- "girlish," intellectually precocious, and attracted to other men.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780374266653
Characteristics: 192 pages ; 20 cm


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May 28, 2019

I found this book very dark and disturbing - a harder read for me than Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" about living in a very poor New York and Northern Ireland Catholic setting.

Louis's book is a real eye opener re life for lower and middle classes in French villages in recent villages - what people think about themselves and what the elites think of them. No wonder the Yellow Shirts are protesting in French cities each week now.

However I did have trouble understanding how Eddy could be living in these conditions yet near the end of the book found a way out. I felt he hid all of the education and intellectual skills from us until then.

To get a much better understanding of the author and how he approached writing the book, I suggest listening to his interview with Tash Aw on Youtube.

Oct 05, 2018

As the French author has said so eloquently in interviews in English, the novel is about the "violence of masculinity" and how this violence plays itself out in a poor French village of factory workers when they find an effeminate gay boy, Eddy, in their midst. The novel must be astoundingly well-written in French because it is beautiful in translation. How much harder must it have been for a boy to come out as gay in a home with violent, drunk, racist uneducated parents living in a small village of like-minded neighbors? all the while being bullied for being gay? The village of the novel is full of poverty, bullying, alcoholism, brutality, bigotry, racism, among so many other kinds of abuses and betrayals. The writing reaches moments comparable to Proust in that the narrator can distill the essence of the moment by providing you with the brutal honest reason why something is happening just as it is happening. No gay boy should ever have to endure so many insults and abuses on his journey to becoming a gay man. The novel hooks you in with the first sentence and, like a school-yard bully, won't let you go until you to feel as belittled and betrayed as the narrator himself. Not a novel for the faint of heart- a real "tough-guy" novel; it must have been tough for the author to expose so much of himself in his novel.

inthestacks Jun 14, 2018

Autobiographical fiction of the author’s early years growing up gay in a working-class factory town in Northern France. Poverty, alcoholism, ignorance and bullying are the realities of this young boy’s daily existence. His only hope for escape is academic success and a high school scholarship that might allow him to flee his cruel life. An unflinching look at what it is like to be a gay child, not fully understanding why you are different, and striving to fit in even though you never will.

DBRL_Jeremiah Mar 30, 2018

Edouard Louis wrote this fine autobiographical novel (translated by Michael Lucey) in his twenties after he plucked himself from his hometown in rural Hallencourt, France. Growing up queer in this village, Louis shows us, is traumatizing, but the nexus of queerness and violence isn't the focus of this book: more than this, Louis attempts to write through, around, and about the conservation of violence—how violence perpetuates violence.

Feb 02, 2018

The End of Eddy is hard to read because there’s so much pain within the story. I’m not sure why it’s called a novel; it appears to be autobiographical. The protagonist’s name is, after all, the name of the author. One thing is for sure, Eddy suffered a lot as a boy. He was effeminate in an environment where being a tough guy was everything. Eddy just couldn’t fake toughness, though he made it his goal to try. He fooled no one. For that he was bullied mercilessly in school, in the neighborhood, and at home. I hope his brains and talent have landed him in a more accepting place in real life.

Jan 02, 2018

Beautifully written, heartbreaking story about growing and not being able to be who you really are.

Jul 16, 2017

fabulous - this man can write - lovely prose


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Alexander Killby
Jul 24, 2020

I saw a news story on a weight-loss clinic for the obese. The young obese people had a support team that held them to a drastic program: diet, exercise, and a regular sleep cycle. For a long time after having seen this, I would dream of a similar kind of place for someone like me. Haunted by the specter of those two boys, I imagined teachers who would beat me each time I let my body do something feminine. I dreamed of getting coaching for my voice, for my way of walking, the way I would meet people’s gazes. I searched and searched for such a program on the school computers.)

Alexander Killby
Jul 24, 2020

My mother and I were close when I was very young: in the way they say little boys can be close to their mothers—that is, until shame came to drive a wedge between us.

Alexander Killby
Jul 24, 2020

No one looked over, but everyone heard. I’m sure everyone heard it, because I remember the satisfied smiles that would appear on other kids’ faces in the schoolyard or the hallway, from the pleasure of hearing the tall redhead or the short hunchback deliver a sentence, saying out loud what everyone else thought in secret, and would whisper as I walked by, and that I would hear Look, it’s Bellegueule, the homo.

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