Review for "Adele" by Leila Slimani (2019) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Adele is a mess. A hot, raging dumpster fire of disarray. But despite this, I couldn’t stop reading. Oui…
Adele is a Parisian (oui, oui!) woman with a nice surgeon husband and a small son. She has a career as a journalist, money, a nice home, and on the surface, everything in life that is desirable. We come to learn that this is the face that she shows to the outside world, because secretly, Adele is addicted to sex. The seedier the better–restrooms, hotels, back alleys. Sometimes the men are nameless, other times they’re coworkers, acquaintances, the husbands of friends. She has no desire to love these men or to see them again once the act is over. In addition to Adele’s mishmash of a life, there’s the portrait of a marriage with no value, as well as glimpses of the relationship with her family, which is dysfunctional as well.
This novel is very well written. Throughout this book Adele enraged me, shocked me, and inspired my deepest sympathy. The ending is also highly subjective, there’s no indication on whether Adele decides to change her ways or not. I am surprised to see the plethora of one-star reviews on Goodreads, perhaps those who expected to find some kind of closure here, a happy ending. This book is about sex but it definitely isn’t porn, it leans toward the erotic. Perhaps erotic writing bothers people. I don’t know.
As far myself, I took this book for what it is, a psychological study of a person with an addiction. The word “addiction” is never written or explicitly named, but it is certainly there. I think the author is careful to simply write the ‘how’ of Adele and leave the judgments to us.
I definitely recommend this book. I certainly found it to be interesting, and its content pleasantly debatable.