Thursday, 6 August 2020

Slimani, Leïla "Adèle"

Slimani, Leïla "Adèle" (French: Dans le jardin de l'ogre) - 2014

An interesting book though I really disliked the protagonist, Adèle Robinson. Read the description of the book and you might get an idea why.

This is the story of a sex addicted woman. She goes around and sleeps with everyone "in trousers". I just couldn't follow that woman.

If you don't like your marriage, give it up. We don't live in the middle ages (or in the middle of the 20th century) where you were bound to that husband of yours.

If you don't feel like a mother … well, how can you not feel like a mother if you are a mother? I don't know any mother who doesn't love her children, even those that nobody else likes. You just do.

I know that being addicted is an illness and it's hard to get out of it but I can't deal with that kind of people. They are selfish and exploit everyone around them.

I think the idea of the author was not to judge Adèle. But I gave up my time in order to read about her, so I just take that as my right and judge her. I just felt sorry for her husband who did everything to please her and her son who didn't ask to be born but then deserves the love of his parents. There are always victims when someone decides to lead a selfish life.

Let's face it, we all have troubles at times that seem unsolvable. Sometimes they really can't be solved. But Adèle would have had many ways out of that situation without hurting too many people.

I wonder why they didn't translate the title "Dans le jardin de l'ogre" into "In the Ogre's Garden" but put the name of the protagonist there. I think the French title is a lot better even though it is all about "Adèle".

Here are some comments from the other members:

Adèle is an unlikable antihero.
The book was more about attention deficit disorder than addiction.
She seems to suffer more from attention deficit disorder
The character is described as an addict who can't control herself and keeps cheating almost everyone around her.
The topic is such that it is very difficult to identify with the person from a male perspective, I can only compare Adèle to other characters as an outside observer.
Leila Slimani's mother is a doctor and Leila used to work as a reporter so the characters in the book draw a lot from this life experience.
I didn't like the book at all. Me neither.
I find it easier to think deeply about books I did not like.
Which one of her problems was caused by society, her upbringing, her own personality, her IQ too?
Sex addiction was a symptom, not the cause.
I have no respect for people with Adèle's weakness.
I also liked the original title much better and would really have loved to hear the views of some French speaking reader on how the book was in the original language. I read it in Finnish which made it cold and harsh, nothing fascinating sexy about it. (Remark from me: I read it in French and even there it was cold and harsh.)

Looks like everyone agreed with me.

This was our book club novel in July 2020.

From the back cover:

"Adèle appears to have the perfect life. She is a successful journalist in Paris who lives in a chic apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But beneath the veneer of 'having it all', she is bored - and consumed by an insatiable need for sex, whatever the cost. Struggling to contain the twin forces of compulsion and desire, she begins to orchestrate her life around her one night stands and extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she's been, until she becomes ensnared in a trap of her own making.

An erotic and daring story - with electrically clear writing - Adèle will captivate readers with its exploration of addiction, sexuality, and one woman's quest to feel alive."


  1. Reading about such things can be disturbing. So sorry this did not work for you.

    1. In a way, I think it did because it gave me an insight into such a person's view. I only learned that I will never understand people who impose their selfish behaviour (no matter for what reasons) on others.