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on 22 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Exquisitely produced and written, this apparently slight novel packs quite a punch. We all have dreams, but what if they suddenly came true? How would it affect our life, our goals and, most of all, the relationships with our loved ones?

Delacourt has created a very ordinary, vulnerable and endearing forty-something heroine, with dreams and anxieties that most women would be able to relate to. He captures her voice perfectly and brings her to life. You will believe every word of her story. Though at times the plot stretches credulity a bit too far, it raises such interesting and universal issues about values and trust that you'll probably be gripped. Although it's a brief and easy read, the emotion is perfectly judged and it's possible that, like me, you'll find a bit of a lump in your throat towards the end. It's one of those books that will make you ask someone close to you, "What if...?" and it's a near-certainty that a fascinating discussion will follow.

There isn't a superfluous word in this book. Its prose flows as clearly as a mountain spring. Its theme transcends national boundaries, and it will stay with you after you've finished. It takes talent to make writing a book look so easy. Credit is also due to Anthea Bell for her translation skills.
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on 18 August 2013
A beautiful story with a twist. I enjoyed the gentle but insistent build up, trying to guess the outcome, knowing that something would happen but what? Couldn't put it down and read it in 2 sittings just about, a perfect weekend read. I was surprised that the author was male because his depictions of the female character's thoughts and emotions were very insightful. Can't think of anyone who would not enjoy this.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 2 July 2013
Attractively presented with its cover decorated with an array of different buttons and each chapter illustrated with a button drawing, Gregoire Delacourt's new novel is a pleasure to read. Our heroine is Jocelyne, an attractively plump forty-seven-year-old woman, living in a small French provincial town, the owner of a haberdashery shop, and married to husband, Jo, for over twenty years. Jocelyne, as she tells us, knows she is not pretty; she doesn't have blue eyes in which men want to drown; she doesn't move gracefully and she doesn't have the figure of a model. Yet, when she is alone, slowly undressing in front of the mirror, she imagines herself to be a beautiful nude in an art book and, in doing so, she almost feels she is beautiful - if only her husband would tell her that he thinks the same. Continuing her story, Jocelyn tells us how she met her husband and about the first few years of their marriage; of the birth of their two children: their son, Romaine (conceived the first time she and Jo made love) and daughter Nadine, born two years later, and we also learn of the very sad death of their third child, Nadege, who died on the same day she was born. (No spoilers - we learn all of this in the first few pages of the novel).

Jocelyne continues her narrative telling us that she doesn't find her life very exciting, but she enjoys its small pleasures - in addition to working in her shop, she writes an on-line blog where she discusses handicrafts and gives advice to her devoted following; she loves her two grown-up children and, although Jo is not a demonstrative man, she does care for him and she knows that her life could be a whole lot worse. It's just that sometimes she wonders about the path her life has taken and she thinks about all the dreams she used to have as a young girl, before she met Jo. And then something happens right out of the blue, something so amazing and life-changing, she can scarcely believe it - but now that Jocelyne has the chance to change her life, does she really want to? And while Jocelyne tries to cope with the unexpected event, something yet more shocking and disorientating takes place, which takes the decision right out of her hands - but just where does Jocelyne go from here?

This is a lovely, heart-warming and bittersweet tale of love, of longing and of what is really important in life. Gregoire Delacourt's charming and easily-readable narrative pulls the reader right into his heroine's story, making this one of those books you pick up and just want to carry on reading until you have finished the last page - it would also make a lovely, quirky French film. Recommended for enjoyable holiday, down-time or bedtime reading.

4 Stars.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read this short book in a matter of hours, and thoroughly enjoyed every page. The story, which has been well translated from the original French by Anthea Bell, sees 47 year old Jocelyne in provincial France winning 18 million on the Euromillions. She's a somewhat plump but contented woman, who is pleased with her life as the owner of a haberdashery store. With an increasingly successful blog, two grown up children and a seemingly attentive and loving husband, Jocelyne starts to wonder if her oh-so-ordinary life isn't maybe worth just keeping as it is and decides to keep things just as they are. Being contented is never that simple and so things are about to take an unexpected turn......

This book has probably been so successful in France, where it has been on the bestseller list for months, because in troubled times it's a breath of fresh air. The tale is almost fairy tale like and it's written in a simple style which is fitting for the subject matter. It's a tale of a middle aged woman re-examining her life and raises the question for all of us as to what makes us happy. I couldn't wait to find out how the story would end and just thought it was a fantastic read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The List of my Desires is a comparatively short book which can be read quite quickly, although it's so well written that I certainly didn't want to rush through it and it's definitely one to savour. It is the story of a lottery winner but it really makes you think about your own life, and how much you'd really want to change things if you actually won the lottery yourself.

There is a wonderful building up through the careful storytelling but I certainly didn't see the big twist coming towards the end of the book; it came as a distinct shock to me as I never imagined the story taking such a turn. In the best traditions of French literature it is heart-warming and thought provoking and I can see why it has proven to be so successful; it is certainly a book that I can recommend.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 September 2014
Jocelyne is a woman who veers between contentment with her lot and profound dissatisfaction with her life; it's not the one she expected to lead. But then, whose is?

Our plump, ordinary, 47-year old narrator runs a haberdashery in a small provincial French town and has taken to writing a surprisingly popular blog about needlecraft. I don't want to reveal the main plot point upon which the story hinges but when this pivotal moment in the book arrives, Jocelyne is presented with the opportunity to change her life and is forced to reassess 'the list of her desires'.

Unfortunately, the narrator's response to this seismic event and the subsequent actions of various other characters stretched credulity beyond the limit and prevented this from achieving five stars. Nevertheless, a tender and thought-provoking read. Anthea Bell's fine translation certainly seems to have captured the essence of Gregoire Delacourt's poignant little book.
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on 31 December 2014
Jo has most things that ordinary people aspire to: she can look back on a happy childhood, she has a nice house and garden (where 'pathetic' tomatoes grow, what is a pathetic tomato...?), two grown-up children who are about par for the course, some good friends and a business which is increasingly successful. She portrays herself as totally without ambition and her deepest desires would be fulfilled by non-slip bath mat and a new Lidl potato peeler. Mind you, she does have an obsession with her parents: her father suffers from memory loss and the story of her mother's death is recounted over and over again.

This is a gloomy, pessimistic story; well written, good in spots but ultimately unsatisfying because of the numerous abrupt shifts in direction. Why is Jo so gloomy, for instance, in spite of a happy childhood, a better-than-average husband, a house, a successful business and so on?

Dog bites man - that's not a story. Man bites dog - that's a story. That money doesn't buy happiness or love is hardly an original message. And particularly irritating when one feels that the author is preaching at us, rather than telling us a story - he even presents us with tasks for discussion after the end of the novel. More interesting might be a book in which someone wins the lottery - and as a result becomes happy and loved.

But in a way it does exactly that: the author conjures a happy ending, more or less, out of the hat! A novel which starts off in tragic mode, and finds a happy end, that is at least original. But I found the happy ending contrived and out of place.

What about the quality of the writing? Good, but not great. Do we really have to hear, at a guess 30 times, about how Jo's mother died? Okay, the trauma of that event might indeed have ruined Jo's life forever. On the other hand, everyone's mother dies sometime or other, and every death is in some sense a trauma. Jo has experienced nothing worse than most of us at some point in our lives - but does it cause us all to descend into gloom and despondency? Or a lifetime of selling buttons?

If the book is to have a plausible explanation, it has to be that Jo has a deeply pessimistic nature. But then there is that semi-happy ending the author springs on us, quite out of character...

A short novel, too good to simply stop reading, not good enough to enjoy. I was relieved when I finally did finish - and poured myself a decent beer, regretting that it was not one of those Belgian ones with 12% alcohol... And tomorrow I must go to Lidl, to check out that potato peeler.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt for me was a great book mainly because of the main character Jocelyne a 47 year old woman who has a heart of gold which is filled with love and all she really wants is her husband to love her as much as he once did before marriage, before babies before real life entered their courtship which ended in a marriage which certainly was not hearts and flowers.
I loved Jocelyne as a character as she could have been anyone in our lives who tried so hard to please those around her while making their lives happy especially her husband. As Jocelyne remembers all her dreams she had when she was seventeen just before her Mother who she dearly loved died in the street right in front of her and before her father had a stroke before she had to live her life without dreams as she had a family and home to look after as well as the haberdashery shop she owns and meets those people who have now become her friends especially the twins who owned the hairdressers down the street. As Jocelyne writes her list of desires something happens which could make her dreams come true along with so much more. As Jocelyne is faced with the dilemma of telling the truth are carrying on with her simple life with good friends and her family could she really destroy it all with might be something wonderful but that something wonderful could also destroy everything she holds dear and that is her family and friends. This was one of those books which made even me question what would I do?
This was a short book and I honestly thought the author was going to rush through the story but it ambled along with Jocelyne coping with her thoughts and dreams and all the feelings of desire she held for so long within her. She remembers her past pain and the author made it so believable for the reader to feel what Jocelyne is feeling throughout and for that reason I know this book is one which I would happily recommend to anyone who loves to read good old fashioned fiction with characters who are so open they truly feel like people I knew from down the street.
The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt is a book which I would recommend to all readers of fiction which are laced with real life while dealing with those desires which some people would rather keep hidden from family and friends.
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on 29 September 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It was gripping, and I wanted to read it as quickly as possible and savour the beautiful prose and content as well! It was difficult to strike a balance between the two and I was sorry when the book ended. For me it was a book I wanted to give my full attention to while I was reading it. It is a very gentle tale which deals with big issues of what is really important in life. No spoilers in this review only a highly recommended read. I am a woman of a similar age to Jocelyn so I don't know how easy it would be for others to relate to her and her story but I loved it and it made me think a lot about my own situation. I guess it was a bit bleak in parts and yet it had such dignity and beauty too. it has stayed with me in the way that some books do and I am still loving it!
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a best seller book in France. Being French, I usually read french books in its original language but I got a copy of this book in english and was very happy with its translation. The book is very enjoyable to read and once you start you cannot put it down. I finished reading it in one day. As the title says it, the book is about the main character making a list of all her desires and finding out how money helps or not fulfilling those desires. This is the kind of book that reminds you of what is really important in your life, and how you can fulfill your desires/dreams (even if you don't win the lottery). Highly recommended book.
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