What is it about ? Anaëlle, the main heroine, is a modern girl. She is a nurse’s aide who works in a hospital in the Paris suburbs. Following an outing with her companion, she meets at a speed-dating a young invalid named Christian for whom she quickly feels a strong desire. Under the influence of a work colleague Mathieu nurse and somewhat tired of her profession, she begins training as a sexual assistant for the disabled. One day, she learns that her father who lives alone is suffering from cancer: this reason is enough to motivate her desire for a professional change: she then decides to help him financially. It’s a big issue because doesn’t Anaëlle take the risk of losing her loved ones when they learn what she does, that is to say what is often taken for prostitution?
Aymeric Patricot captures this very contemporary scenario wonderfully well. It’s a real beautiful subject that speaks of a changing era, at a time when we are talking more and more about inclusion. The title is first of all very beautiful, very impregnated, very original and it suits very well the work and the wanderings of the heroine. The female characters are very constructed.
READ: Aymeric Patricot: “The subject of sexual assistance has haunted me for many years“
Many feelings collide from the beginning of the book where it is often a question of lies and jealousy (the somewhat seductive and adventurous heroine is looking for herself, and confesses more than once to herself that she lies to herself as much that she lies to her companion whom she leaves without news, Mrs. Puech, her boss at the hospital is deceived by her companion, Mrs. Amparat, Christian’s mother, Pauline, his best friend).
During her turpitudes, the character of Anaëlle demonstrates several things: we distinguish a financial interest for this new professional approach, a sensual interest which makes her have several adventures in which there is a lot of humanity, (c easy for her, she’s pretty), and finally, a spiritual interest, insofar as she seeks, in doing so, as much to elevate herself spiritually as to carry out a very personal existential quest, in the hope of finding the love. The male characters are also very well sketched: the interventions of colleague Mathieu are the most relevant. As for the scene with the amorous Christian wavering and imploring his mother on a beach, it brought tears to my eyes.
With a certain care, Aymeric Patricot often mentions differences of class, of scattered sociological environments. The Catholic bourgeoisie and the cracked varnished side of Pauline rubs shoulders with the working class of Anaëlle and her depressed and suffering father. It’s very interesting. It is very perceptible that by devoting herself to a form of priesthood and sexual assistance (and benevolent, and charitable), the heroine not only wants to embellish her life but hopes to frequent an environment other than that of the hospital which employed as a nursing assistant.
The text is punctuated with very pretty stylized epiphanies that clearly indicate the state of mind Anaëlle finds herself in each time she experiences a new event. Thus, the reader does not lose sight of anything and plunges with her into her story, following her track.
The end is quite harsh when the theme of prostitution returns implicitly to support the succession of ordeals that the heroine undergoes head-on: the betrayal of her best friend, the father who understands things upside down, the assistance literally deformed in its great widths and therefore misunderstood, even misguided, the fact that the mother of Christina the handicapped manages to provoke a sentimental rupture between the two heroes, the terrible imbroglio since the seminar and the announcement made by Jacques, the termination of the professional contract at the hospital: but Anaëlle magnificently manages to overcome all this with quite extraordinary strength.
For all the subjects he tackles with great accuracy and wit, from disability to support for intimate life, from the feeling of love to the intrinsic search for what we possess within ourselves, the vivacious is a novel to read. A political and powerful book. Kudos to the author.