La tête en friche [My Afternoons with Margueritte] (Marie-Sabine Roger)

La tête en friche, translated to My Afternoons with Margueritte, is a novel by Marie-Sabine Roger.

Germain is in his mid-forties and barely literate. He lives in a trailer in his mother’s garden, gets by on irregular jobs, has a group of friends, some less kind than others and a kind-of girlfriend. He enjoys counting pigeons in the park which is where he meets Margueritte, a rather lonely woman in her mid-80s. Against all odds, Margueritte and Germain become friends – mostly because Margueritte is practically the only person who doesn’t think that Germain is an idiot and takes it on herself to further his education a bit.

La tête en friche was a nice book. Intelligent, though not overly intellectual, touching and pretty funny.

I read it in German, so you're getting the German cover.
I read it in German, so you’re getting the German cover.

La tête en friche is a short book and one that is quickly read. But it’s one of those rare books that is exactly the right length for its story. You don’t want it to be any longer, but it really shouldn’t be any shorter either.

And Roger pulls off another feat: often these kinds of books get terribly didactic and come on too strong *coughFlowersforAlgernoncough*, but this one remains insightful, especially when it comes to the education system, but not overbearing. Plus, there were a lot of nice quotes in it, too.

Basically Roger makes the case that encouragement, instead of prejudice, has a great influence on the success of school and teaching. It’s also an ode to education – when done right. Both are sentiments that I can wholeheartedly agree with.

Summarising: if you’re in the mood for light, but not dumb and shallow reading, it’s the book for you.


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