Review: 13, rue Therese
When American professor Trevor Stratton goes to work in Paris, he discovers a box hidden in the bottom drawer of his file cabinet. The box is filled with letters and other mementos from Louise Brunet’s life. As Trevor goes through the box, he pieces together Louise’s life and comes to feel like he knows her even as he discovers a love of his own.
13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro is based on an actual box of mementos that the author has carried around the world for years – the mementos in the book are real, but the story is fictional. This has to be one of the most unique books I’ve read in quite some time, because Louise’s story is pieced together by letters and objects, and photos of all the mementos are included in the book.
Trevor learns of Louise’s forbidden love, her marriage, and her frustrations. He imagines her thoughts and feelings. There’s a little twist at the end that I don’t want to give away, but I had to discuss it with someone to see if they interpreted it the same way I did. Although there’s nothing really explicit, there is a lot of sexuality in this book.
I enjoyed 13, rue Thérèse a lot and I’m anxious to see what Shapiro comes up with next. If you think this sounds like a book you’d enjoy, you should consider signing up for the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge – if you do by March 31, you could win a copy!