Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. by Carole DeSanti

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I didn't know what to expect with this book. The bare bones summary is: Eugenie is abandoned by her lover in Paris. Once she realizes this, she does what she has to to survive. She soon realizes she's pregnant and eventually has to give the baby up, determined to get her back again. Along the road of survival, she meets many interesting and revolutionary people, friends, lovers, etc.

The book was told in the first person, which doesn't always work. It almost didn't work here, but once the story got going, everything evened out. Eugenie is not always a reliable narrator, and she admits to embellishing here and there. I loved some of the people she encounters. My favorite was Jolie, who was like a cockroach, nothing could kill her. She was a survivor, a strong woman. Actually most of the women in this book were especially strong, had revolutionary ideas.

The book is told during the 1860s, a time that practically suffocated women. I could feel the frustration of Eugenie and her friends. My favorite quote was said by Eugenie herself:

Men will never understand a woman's follies, no matter how often we repeat them before your eyes. All you can do is accuse, and rewrite the story to please yourself.

Amen, sister.

The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. was long winded and a chunkster. There were times where there were pages where nothing happened. However, at the end, it's worth it. The ending is not a concrete, set- in-stone ending. There are still many possibilities for Eugenie, but whatever the future holds for her, I've not doubt she survives it.