French writer Françoise Sagan was born on June 21, 1935. Her real first name was Quoirez. Her best-known novel was her first, Bonjour Tristesse (bohjoor treestess), or Hello Sadness, published in 1954, when she was only 19. That just goes to show that failing one’s bac isn’t the end of the world. The book was a huge critical and financial success; it concerns the love life of a young girl. All of her books were beloved by teenagers who saw in her heroines reflections of themselves. Sagan was known for her audacious quips, such as “A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you.” Her other trademark was her shock of unruly blond hair.
Sagan’s personal life was certainly exotic: marriages, divorces, lovers of both sexes. She loved driving fast cars, and nearly lost her life in a serious car accident in 1957 that left her in a coma for some time. Sagan took drugs, both prescription and street, and was convicted of possession of cocaine. With such a wild lifestyle, it’s no wonder that her health suffered. She died in Honfleur on September 24, 2004. Sagan left a legacy of 20 books, 3 short story collections, 9 plays, 7 autobiographical works, such as journals, and 2 biographies of others. A further 8 publications were published posthumously. A movie version of Sagan’s life came out in 2008, starring Jean Seberg.
- [Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Françoise Sagan (onetrackmuse.com)
- Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile (liveliterature.wordpress.com)