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No and Me [Paperback]

Delphine de Vigan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

2 Aug 2010
Lou Bertignac has an IQ of 160 and a good friend in class rebel Lucas. At home her father puts a brave face on things but cries in secret in the bathroom, while her mother rarely speaks and hardly ever leaves the house. To escape this desolate world, Lou goes often to Gare d'Austerlitz to see the big emotions in the smiles and tears of arrival and departure. But there she also sees the homeless, meets a girl called No, only a few years older than herself, and decides to make homelessness the topic of her class presentation. Bit by bit, Lou and No become friends until, the project over, No disappears. Heartbroken, Lou asks her parents the unaskable question and her parents say: Yes, No can come to live with them. So Lou goes down into the underworld of Paris's street people to bring her friend up to the light of a home and family life, she thinks.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Reprint edition (2 Aug 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0747599645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599647
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


`Lou's transparent narrative − at times naïve, at times profound − marks this apart as something special'
--The Sunday Telegraph

`A moving and thought-provoking novel for young adults'
--School Librarian

`A very enjoyable book to read as Delphine de Vigan pulls you into the complex, yet addictive narrative' --The School Librarian

`A fulfilling read that gives a great insight not only into the grimy world of homelessness, but also into a family trying to cope with a death of an infant'
--The School Librarian

About the Author

Delphine de Vigan is the author of several novels, including Jolis Garcons, Soir de decembre and Les heures souterraines. No and Me is her first novel to be published in English; it was a bestseller in France (100,000), where it was awarded the Prix des Libraires (The Booksellers' Prize) in 2008, and also a bestseller in Italy (50,000).George Miller is a regular translator for Le Monde diplomatique's English-language edition. He is also the translator of Conversations with my Gardener by Henri Cueco and Inside Al-Qaeda by Mohammed Sifaoui.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of A Trillian Books 12 Aug 2010
On the surface No and Me seems like a run of the mill Young Adult novel of a teenage girl dealing with both a family tragedy and growing up. Dig a little deeper though and this book is so much more than that, largely because of two factors. The first being the simple yet emotion filled writing style. The story is told not just from a first person point of view but it really did read as if an intelligent teen was retelling it - including those unique rambley off-topic moments, which all just added to the character and effect of the book. In some ways it reminded me of Catcher in the Rye.

The second aspect of this book which made it unlike so many others was Lou herself. Her character was very much like the protagonist in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon) in that she used intellectual means, such as mathematical problems, for coping with the emotions of every day life. I really liked how Lou was extremely intelligent but at the same time had issues functioning with normal life. At one point she states that she has an IQ of 160 but can't tie her own shoe laces. She doesn't socialise well and dreads the presentation she has to do in front of the class. She collects food labels to compare the ingredients and conducts various experiments at home just to satisfy her curiosity.

Through Lou we also get to know No, the homeless girl who eventually comes to live with the family, and Lucas a boy in Lou's class. No clearly has her own issues to deal with - living on the streets and then adapting to family life - as does Lucas. Lou and Lucas are complete opposites in their class at school. Lou is two years ahead and Lucas is two years behind. Lucas is the only one who really pays attention to Lou and it makes a unique friendship.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching little book 1 Mar 2010
I read this book in a day, it was so quick and easy and light to get through, yet the subject matter is quite dark in places. There is a lot about loss, about silence and about the violent qualities of those things. Charmingly told through the eyes of a child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No and Me 24 Feb 2011
No and Me is an unusual story about two French girls from totally different backgrounds who become friends. Lou Bertignac (Me of the title) is a lonely but extremely bright schoolgirl who lives with her parents in Paris. She has a close relationship with her father but has become detached from her mother. Outside of her home environment she hasn't any friends and spends a lot of her time in thought puzzling on life's many conundrums. Nolwenn (No of the title) is a streetwise homeless eighteen year old who has no family to turn to and lives rough on the streets of Paris.
In a knee-jerk reaction to the questioning of one of her teachers, Lou decides to prepare a project for presentation to the class at school on the homeless. It is while trying to research this that she befriends No.
The novel develops the burgeoning relationship between the two girls in a sympathetic and honest way, highlighting how sometimes it is easier for Lou to talk to No about growing up than it is to discuss these worries with her parents. The book also explores the relationship that develops between No and Lou's parents as the friendship between the two girls becomes stronger and they begin to develop a greater mutual support and understanding for each other.
This is a brief synopsis of the novel and I do not want to go into more depth than I have above because I do not want to give too much of the story away.
In addition to the above, there are many thought provoking questions put forward by Lou throughout the book, to both her father and No, as she attempts to understand her surroundings, and the adult world she is trying to comprehend, which for me added to the overall content of the novel.
I also feel this would be a good choice of book for a Book Club as it offers many topics and issues which could be discussed in a group setting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a satisfying book for adults 15 Nov 2010
By Jackie
No and Me is a simple story about a 13-year-old girl who has an intelligence that isolates her from her peers. Difficulties at home make her life even harder, but everything changes when she befriends No, a homeless girl a few years older than her.

The book is very quick to read and contains a nice, heartwarming story, but I found it too straightforward to satisfy me. It felt like a children's book and the teenage protagonist emphasised this classification.

Several serious issues were raised, but although it contained some emotional scenes I thought the book lacked subtlety. Everything was explained in easy to understand terms - perfect you teenagers, but a little patronising for intelligent adults.

"Before I met No I thought that violence meant shouting and hitting and war and blood. Now I know that there can also be violence in silence and that it's sometimes invisible to the naked eye. There's violence in the time that conceals wounds, the relentless succession of days, the impossibility of turning back the clock. Violence is what escapes us. It's silent and hidden. Violence is what remains inexplicable, what stays forever opaque."

I also thought that some of the story line was a bit far fetched, or at the very least over simplified. I don't want to give anything away (although you can probably guess what happens!) but I have serious doubts about whether the events in this book could happen in real life, especially in the given time frame.

If you are interested in books about teenagers coming to terms with difficult situations then I recommend that you read Luke and Joninstead. The writing quality is far higher and I guarantee that you'll find it more emotional.

Recommended to those who like simple, sentimental books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story. Suitable for young people as well - ...
Fantastic story. Suitable for young people as well - teenagers.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Book club read
This was the first book in our new book club, chosen without reading the blurb, so chosen completely randomly. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mas
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!
Excellent book! Had me hooked form the first page. Was sad when I finished it. Would definitely recommend it. One of my all time favourites.
Published 6 months ago by Gill
4.0 out of 5 stars French Alevel
A part of my A level course but generally a good book. Suits a teenage audience with a Jacqueline Wilson-esque theme.
Published 10 months ago by H.M
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read
Was searching for a book to read with teenagers and this has captured their imaginations! Excellent - also enjoyed by most of the adults I work with too
Published 10 months ago by Ms J J Tweddle
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok
The book was promising but I ended up not really caring what happened in the end. Quite predictable and I wont recommend
Published 11 months ago by deb
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight into young women
A young Parisienne teenager befriends a homeless girl. A fascinating story develops around the complexities of peer relationships and of family. Worth reading.
Published 12 months ago by philippa seligman
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very good book. Very enjoyable and easy language (I read it in French too at the same time) definitely recommend as a quick holiday read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Charlotte Hibbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
I loved this story. It will especially appeal to anyone who has been involved with teenagers. A great read - couldn't put it down
Published 13 months ago by Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and heartwarming.
This was such a heart-warming book, going to show that you can attempt to change the world bit by bit, however, unsuccessful the end result may be. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Rachel
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