Summary for Monsieur
Ellie, a 20-year-old student, who lives in Paris has an unusual attraction to older men; craving the pleasure that their experienced hands can possibly give her. After her most recent break-up, she is once more on the prowl, searching for someone exciting, and she finds him at the hospital where her uncle works. Monsieur, a married man with children and responsibilities, can’t possibly deny the young woman who shares the same passion in erotic literature as he does.
Monsieur covers the brief relationship between Ellie and Monsieur; from their first contact on Facebook, to their Tuesday morning encounters at the hotel Fifteenth Arrondissement, the months of little to no communication, and finally, to the end of their bodily encounters.
What did I think?
** Spoiler alert **
When browsing the shelves, I found this book and the summary instantly caught my attention, as well as the cover. I liked the idea of reading a book where the age difference was wide (20s and 40s) since I usually read books where the characters are about the same age. This was also the first time I had picked up an erotic novel and I thought: why not? There is a first time for everything. I was rather excited to read this book (so I started to read as soon as I got it), but I found that it really disappointed me. The beginning caught me instantly by having the main character seeing the son of Monsieur (the older man she was having an affair with) and I really wanted to find out what was going to happen and what had happened between them. I also wondered if anything would arise between the two or if Monsieur’s son would only be the link or the trigger. (Who was he and why was he mentioned?)
The novel was split up into three books; the first book was the longest out of the three. I began to lose interest near the end of book one, because nothing seemed to really be happening. I zoned out in book two, which was when Ellie (Main Character) started to lose contact with Monsieur, she began to see other men so that she could forget Monsieur, and her depressive state begins. My attention was recaptured near the end of book four, which is where Ellie starts seeing Monsieur but their relationship isn’t like it was before. There seems to be a rift, and it’s also where they part (in body). Because of my loss in interest, I began to read book two and three in parts, rather than in chunks like I did with book one (i.e. 10 pages one day, 15 another, 10 again).
I really enjoyed the beginning because of how their relationship was; there was interest on both sides, the way they could engage in conversations about literature, and their way of communicating was fascinating. I enjoyed the formatting and how we read their messages as if we were the recipients. There seemed to be a lot of life and optimism in this part. I also don’t feel like it was an obsession at that point. Then Ellie began to see less and less of Monsieur, and I couldn’t help but start disliking the characters. I didn’t like Monsieur because of how he was with Ellie; not contacting her, only calling to see about the book, and only seeing her for a quick session and then leaving once again for an uncertain amount of time. Then there was Ellie, who couldn’t get Monsieur out of her life (that’s when I saw it as an obsession). Her life seemed to consist of smoking, having sex with any and all guys, contacting Monsieur, and writing the book about Monsieur. Her whole life seemed pretty much destroyed; the way she spoke was more in passing, not as poetic as before, a light seemed to be missing (I think this is why I lost interest). I felt like blaming Monsieur for messing up her life but then I couldn’t help but think she knew what she was getting into and let it affect her too much.
I’m slightly conflicted about the ending because I felt that it could have been better. At the beginning of the novel, Monsieur encourages Ellie to write a novel about their encounter and she does. Monsieur’s reaction to the book, when presented to him, was rather disconcerting. He had been pushing Ellie to continue writing it, and when she showed it to him, he seemed rather upset and displeased. The way he spoke made it seem like she was trying to make known to the world what they were doing, not caring about the consequences it could bring. It seemed like only at this point that Monsieur finally realized what he could lose if his family or society found out about his relationship with Ellie.
Also, at that point, Monsieur had finally come back and Ellie began meeting with him (having sex). Compared to earlier scenes, their meetings didn’t feel as intense or special. It felt like she was with any other guy — there was a disconnect. When she finally broke things off with Monsieur and left the room at their usual meeting place, I couldn’t help but wonder: How will she recover? She was without him for quite some time (the summer?), and in that time I felt like she just went through life automatically. Would she be like that for the rest of her life? Did she only need some time? To meet someone new? She seemed to realize this as she was crying and watching him go.
Another thing that bugged me was the mention of characters like Charles. He was at the beginning of the book and one of the reasons the book caught my interest instantly, the way Ellie and he were connected. There was no later mention of him or anything like that. I figured that by mentioning him, he might have been important but he was dropped after the introduction. For example, Ellie mentioned Monsieur’s wife and writes about who she could possibly be and how Monsieur’s relationship with her could be. I found that rather interesting because of the comparisons and assumptions she makes. Also, there was Lucy who seemed to be quite a force during the time Ellie was out in the country. Ellie spoke much about Lucy and how she was a temptation for her. When they returned to the city, there was no further mention about her. It left me with many questions about what Lucy’s place could have been/became later on in the future.
Overall, I think this book was alright. It could have been better, but I suppose that when someone goes into a depressive state, there really isn’t anything interesting. This was clearly put out but I felt that there could have probably been another way to go about it without losing the readers.