In this short romance story set in France Sagan has depicted a world of jealously, greed and passion through a child’s eyes. Cecile is not a child through age but rather through her acts of selfishness and deceitfulness. Cecile has always been the centre of attention in her comfortable lifestyle with her father, so when a strong leading female such as Anne enters their life Cecile does all that is possible to ensure Anne does not stay for long.
Cecile’s father Raymond is a frivolous character with no strong will when it comes to money and women. He lives to please young, attractive women who cannot carry a conversation unless it is about materialistic items. With this type of lifestyle- one where women are continuously in and out of Cecile’s life- Cecile has always been able to maintain a relationship with her father, which allows them to be free in spirit and conversation.
Yet when Anne visits Raymond and Cecile at their villa in the south of France, Raymond is seduced by Anne’s powerful beauty and her attentiveness to life, he soon forgets about his young mistress, Elsa.
Elsa soon leaves the villa hurt and embarrassed by Anne’s dominance. Leaving Anne, Raymond and Cecile, at first Cecile is fond of Anne’s present. She enjoys her intellectual conversation and her control over life. But when Anne starts to assimilate her way of life on to Cecile’s, it doesn’t bode well with Cecile. Enraged and made to feel like a child Cecile takes comfort with her summer lover Cyril.
Together Elsa, Cyril and Cecile plot ways to push Anne away. Each with their own self-centered motive to do so, Elsa is interested in getting Raymond back, Cyril is hopelessly in love with Cecile and Cecile wants to bring back the relationship she once had with her father.
None of them could have anticipated how well their plan would work.
After reading Bonjour Tristesse I was left with an eerie feeling. The story reveals how much one is driven by love, no matter what age. The main themes of the story are loneliness, love and heartache.