CELEBRITY BOOK REVIEW: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You” by Courtney Maum
Editor’s note: Any resemblances to actual celebrities — alive or dead — are miraculously coincidental. Celebrity voices channeled by Courtney Maum.
Americans, they are a little bit obsessed with the marriage, non? During my three-month engagement to Nicolas Sarkozy, an American friend asked, but how does it feel to think that you will never sleep with another man again? But this is not the way to think about marriage! It is very sad to think about your man like that. And naturally, you will not want it. The mind first, then the body. Because I am the kind of woman who makes love with my mind.
My husband, being a fan of chili bowls and optimism and all other things American, he often receives things from the American consulate in Paris. Plastic things. And books. But my husband is not a reader. He is too impatient for that. Me, I am like a kitten. I like to curl up with a novel, and so I read these books and then I tell him what is inside of them, as if he were a child.
And so I have from the French Consulate a copy of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum. You see, this is another book about infidelity. It is about a British man, an artist, who cheats on his French wife.
It is very negative, no? This word, “cheating”? In French, we say that someone “est allé voir ailleurs” — that he or she saw elsewhere. They went somewhere and saw something else, which is a pretty thing to do. But you know, it is like window shopping. After a whole day of seeing lovely things in storefronts, you just want to go home. Which is why we French can be wronged by a lover, and then be taken back!
And why this word, “affair”? As if it is a transaction, something brief, that ends. Love stories are loops, really. Even when they are over, they do not end. It is a healthy thing, this circle! When I was living with Jean-Paul Enthoven — such a handsome man, you know? — and then I went with his son Raphael because the feeling was much stronger, and we made a baby, and now this baby is a young man who lives with me and my current husband in our home — it is beautiful this love story, like a red boomerang, don’t you think?
This book is a nice book, it is not a difficult book, it is like iced tea. I am sure it is a nice thing to write a novel, but I also think the author could have written a little poem instead. This is what I do, when I have sung my baby daughter to sleep in the early afternoon and it is raining. I smell my husband’s eau de cologne and run my fingers across his dress shoes, and then I write a poem. Sometimes, when I have time for it, I will put the poem to music. It is more intimate, sharing my thoughts about mon amour this way. To put everything in a novel? It is too big for me. To think that my story was sitting all alone in an airport store, smelling like an airport, just being passed over without my voice to carry it, no! It is not for me, this novel writing. I find it a bit vulgar, if I am allowed to say!
I do like, however, the parts about Paris. The author writes that French people are frightened of drafts — this is true, and funny. I am often photographed clasping at my shirt collar because they come when you are not expecting them, these drafts. Particularly in America, the restaurants, the air is so cold and no one drinks at lunch, and it makes for a very frigid atmosphere in which to eat!
I do not have much to say about the descriptions of suburban London in this book because it is a place that I don’t like! It is not politically right of me to say so, but England is not simple. France is very easy, the codes are rather clear and once you know what is polite and what is rude, you just let your body act. In France, you just need to sink into things and it will be divine! But England, it is a cold place, it is like the air conditioning. When I was First Lady, I did well there, I tried. But it is very difficult to be sexual in England.
Here is what I think about this book: if you are a young person, and impressionable, and you find it beautiful, this marriage as one person sleeping with another for the rest of their lives, than maybe, no, this book is not for you. Or if you are a jealous person, than that is no good, either. But if you are a fluid person, if you like rosé champagne and navy silk, if you would rather dream in bed than go to noisy parties, well, then you are like me, a little, so maybe you will like it.
But it is not for me to tell you what you will or will not like. That is the role of instinct. That is the role of our French wine! I think you should read what your heart tells you to, and then you will be fine.