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Gigi by Colette

Gigi (1944)

by Colette

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Gigi is a short novella about a girl raised by courtesans to be a courtesan in the late 1890s, without ever realizing that that's what she's supposed to do. It's also one of those books where the movie based on it is famous enough that most people don't realize that there is a book. So I should note now that Maurice Chevalier's character was invented for the musical and doesn't exist in the book. Very sad, I know.

Young Gilberte is growing older, but she sees no reason why things need to change because of this. Her grandmother and great-aunt Alicia on the other hand, are starting to get nervous, because she lacks "sense". Courtesans in their youth, they are worried that Gigi won't be able to attract the right kind of man. So they begin training her intensively. However, it's clear early on that Gigi doesn't think like they do, so when she accidentally attracts an wealthy family friend, will she be ready to take the plunge or will Gigi take matters into her own hands and break with tradition once and for all.

This extremely short novella is perfectly plotted, and an extremely fun read. Highly recommended for everyone who loves a good story. Even if you never liked the musical. ( )
  inge87 | May 30, 2013 |
SPOILER ALERT! A fin-de-siecle slice of life about a girl who manages to win the golden (wedding) ring instead of becoming a courtesan as everyone around her expects. It's easy reading and quick, and it manages to make the whole situation (a young girl coming of age and being primed to become a mistress) charming instead of creepy. ( )
  Marse | Jul 14, 2011 |
At first appearances, the short novella is cute, light fare seeped in the richness of the Gilded Age in France. It soon turns into a witty satire of love and relationships.

Raised by her grandmother, Gigi is a girl on the verge of womanhood who is being primed for a life as a courtesan. She comes from generations of courtesans, with their own moral system and rules, of which Gigi must learn in her lessons with her Aunt Alicia. The hypocricy and silliness of these lessons is not lost on Gigi, and her greatest joy is childishly teasing Gaston, a family friend who often pays a call on her grandmother. They interact so easily, that Gigi's family makes plans for Gaston to be Gigi's first lover. After hesitation on both sides, they decide to give it a try - with disasterous results. But the novel resolves itself sweetly, like a delectable bonbon.

Gigi's transformation is astounding: from a rough-around-the-edges, tomboyish child to an elegant lady in love. She becomes wiser when she realizes that the artifices taught by her Aunt Alicia repulse Gaston, and resolves to love him as she is. Gaston, on the other hand, is a bored tycoon who finds happiness away from the upper crust's hypocrisy at Gigi's more humble home. He is horrified when Gigi adopts the mannerisms of his past lovers and spurns her, but soon realizes that he needs her. Gigi is his anchor in a duplicitous world, and he learns he cannot turn her into just another one of his lovers. ( )
2 vote StoutHearted | Jul 16, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Coletteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Senhouse, RogerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Gigi (1949IMDb)
Gigi (1958IMDb)
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"Don't forget you are going to Aunt Alicia's. ..."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The work contains the single story Gigi. A number of works titled simply Gigi actually contain other stories as well, including:
Gigi and The Cat (Penguin, Vintage editions), Gigi; L'Enfant Malade; La Dame du Photographe; Flore et Pomone (Hachette/Livre de Poche edition), and others. If your copy contains more than one story, please edit the title to include the others so that it can be separated from here and combined with the correct edition.
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Book description

The classic story of a young girl whose innocence triumphs over the jaded Parisian demimonde.

Colette, one of France's best-loved writers, was born in Burgandy 1783-1954. Prolific and widely admired, she was elected the first woman president of the Academie Goncourt
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0146001133, Paperback)

A story of burgeoning womanhood and blossoming love, Colette's masterpiece reveals the author's grasp of the politics of relationships. With music, drama, and the charm of French-inflected English, this unabridged novella follows Gigi's training as a courtesan. Leslie Caron, the star of the best-loved film based on Gigi brings to life the Paris of 1899 in all its sensuous detail. 2 cassettes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)

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