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Published February 2nd 2019
Where self development meets fiction
Have you ever felt like you are getting in a rut and not seeing the joy in each day? This 234 page read by Raphaelle Giordano is part fiction, part personal development. Described as "the best selling French novel that made 2 million readers happier" is a big call but sounds like the kind of book that everyone needs to read.
Photo courtesy Good Reads websiite
So what is the key? Set in Paris, we walk in the footsteps of Camille, who is almost 40 with a settled but somewhat predictable life. Her relationships with her husband (Sebastien) and son (Adrien) are reasonable - not sensational but good enough. She has a permanent, job which is not her dream but is sensible and secure.
Camille meets Claude Dupontel by chance after she is in a slight car accident. After coming to her aid, Claude explains that he is a "Routinologist", treating those with a sickness of the soul that is chronic dissatisfaction. Even though his clients have enough material goods, life doesn't seem enough.
He shares with her techniques to cure routinology, re-discover herself, find her own path, grow her self esteem and create happiness. His program is free and she pays at the end whatever she feels is reasonable.
And so, she jumps on board. What has she got to lose? Claude sets her a series of tasks to complete and coaches her on curing her sense of dissatisfaction.
Once I got past realising that this is not your typical novel, I found myself writing down the tasks to complete including making lists of personal achievements, anchoring memories, setting SMART goals. All seem easy on face value but become helpful and powerful reminders when we feel that life has lost its zing.
I usually love to buy books set in France to absorb the romantic descriptions of this spectacular country with its stunning architecture, food and culture. This book won't give you your French fix but it offers much more for your reflective capacity.
The book includes a useful pocket dictionary of routinology words and phrases at the end. If your 'ha X' has become a life of uninspiring routines, create some new habits and give this book a go. A bit like Camille, you've got nothing to lose
About the Author RaphaŽlle Giordano is an artist and painter who lives in Paris, France. Trained in communication and stress management techniques, she runs Emotone, an events agency that organises art activities and innovative team building, stress management and creativity/innovation courses.
Photo courtesy Penguin Random House
She has previously published (in French) the non-fiction titles Self-assertion, Stress Management, and Relationships for Couples. Your Second Life Begins When You Realize That You Only Have One is her first novel.