Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Leander sieht Maud by Nadia Marfaing


My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Original language: French
Series: -
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published: August 2014 by Knesebeck (first published 2012)
Pages: 176 (paperback)
Source: Buchbox
Want to buy? The Book Depository - Knesebeck 

It's April 1967. After a self-inflicted accident Maud goes blind.

She stops leaving the house, more precisely her room and gets angry and desperate. Angry because of this colorful world she's never going to see again and desperate because she thinks this means her life ends altogether. Her mother doesn't know what to do with her daughter. Her friends stopped visiting her after the accident. Well, everyone but Leander, who's not exactly a friend. They haven't been talking to each other for years but now he comes to her house nearly everyday. He forces her to live again, shows her that she can still do what she wants and that she's not alone. They go swimming and play table tennis, they go to the cinema and even though Maud is constantly insulting him Leander never stops coming to her house. He always thinks of himself as a knight in shining armour and when Maud tells him she doesn't want him to come anymore until the end of summer he only thinks that it is going to be another test.

Nadia Marfaing, a former Geography teacher from France, is now involved with a lot of social projects, like fighting illiteracy among the blind, because the usage of Braille is still not an implicitness.

My Thoughts

I think I should tell about my first thought on the book. It was: "Wow, the writing style is so awesome!" 
And the second one was: "Jesus Christ, Leander is such a pervert". Because he is! And you may wonder why I'm mentioning this as the first thing but it was really important to me. Because I do get annoyed when the protagonist is non-stop thinking about having sex with this girl. Kind of explicit thinking sometimes. Not a lot, but sometimes. Another thing that made him dislikable in my eyes was that he was so self-satisfied without really doing anything important. Maybe it's just a personal dislike but the whole time I was reading, this bothered me. 
But Maud wasn't that much better: She was rude and ungrateful throughout most of the book, although in contrast to Leander I could actually relate to her. I would probably behave the same way. Especially if my friends stopped acting like friends. 
Maybe you can already imagine, but their relationship was so exhausting. One moment they would just tell each other how big their love is etc. and the next moment they're shouting, one of them crying, then the other one's shouting and then they talk about how much they love each other again. Ughhh.
Another thing I missed about these characters was the blindness. Sure, it was everywhere, because that's what this book is about but in a way it wasn't. There wasn't that much information about life with blindness. 
Still I quite loved these characters, because they were so annoying and imperfect - that made them human. It always takes me a while, but I like humans. Sometimes.

The other important thing about this is the language: I do not read a lot of French to German translations but if they always have this wonderful kind of writing I will (Sadly I don't speak French. I'd love to). It is written in present tense and in 3rd person and the sentences are really short when there is something happening fast, but when Leander has his thoughtful moments they can be very long. And I like his thoughtful moments a lot. Because his view of the world is unique and interesting and sometimes it's just the brutal truth. 
The book is also divided in two parts (They're in German so I'm going to translate them for my English readers): part one: Tandem. Part two: The Taste of Smarties. And the name of the book and the names of these two parts are in Braille as well (You cannot feel it though. It's not embossed in the paper). And the last thing is the cover: It's so pretty! A little bit cheesy, but I think I can live with that. And the book is quadrangular.

So all in all I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes complicated romances and contemporary books.

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