“I am going to leave you to make my entry into the world; – I shall be very much astonished if I enjoy myself there [Paris] as much as I have at school.”
So ends Claudine at School, and, I must say, Claudine is very much correct. The sequel, Claudine in Paris (which I reviewed here), features a decidedly less boisterous heroine, and is all the worse for it (to be fair, she no longer has her school’s petty dramas to amuse her). In this book, we are treated to Claudine’s frenemy (described as the “gawk” Anaïs), her very close friend (the masochistic Luce), her school’s skeevy District Superintendent, her formidable headmistress, and the headmistress’ smutty assistant Mademoiselle Aimée.
Yes, Claudine is often a manipulative bully in her interactions, but she bears no ill-will and is so charming that you can hardly fault her. The novel is written from her perspective (as a diary, but minus the angst) and follows her final year in school. Descriptions of everything around her are so French, and full of Claudine’s sheer love of life that I was quite sad to leave the late 1800’s town.
The book, as its heroine, is captivating and, set in a quaint town or not, quite delightful.