The Art of Sleeping Alone, Sophie Fontanel

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Being an hour behind most of the other Bookstravaganzers hasn’t put me at a disadvantage, because I still finished this book before going to bed last night.

I know we’re not competing, but I still like to feel like I’m winning.

The Art of Sleeping Alone was an uninspired choice for a first December read. I chose it because, well, I’m sleeping alone. My dormitory room is drafty and cold and I can feel every spring in the mattress. My cat isn’t around to keep me awake. Of course, Sophie Fontanel meant ‘sleeping alone’ in the figurative, not literal sense. A senior fashion editor for Elle, Fontanel swore off sex for 12 years. And then she wrote an exceedingly French book about it.

By that, I mean the book is tres chic. You can see Fontanel’s effortless cardigans and perfectly red lips in every line. She’s so goddamned Parisian. She opted for abstinence in lieu of an unsatisfying sex life, and you have to have some respect for that although she comes across as a relentless proselytizer. Her straightforward prose doesn’t allow much room for differing opinions: all the author’s relationship-bound friends are examples of what not to do. Their unhappiness stems from their sexual ties, and we have no idea where their happiness comes from because we are not permitted access to that information. That’s a direct product of Fontanel’s spare approach. Half the time, it’s lovely. The other half, it denies the reader information that would’ve made the book’s central argument (abstinence makes you a better person) stronger.

Books read: 1

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