Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore | LibraryThing

Moore, C. (2012). Sacre bleu: A comedy d’art. New York: William Morrow. 9780061779749

Reasons for Reading : I posted Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art on my TBR list. Check out my reasons for reading there.

Summary: News of the suicide of volatile artist Vincent van Gogh rocks Parisian baker and artist Lucien Lessard and his good friend  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Compounding issues is the sudden reappearance of Lucien’s MIA girlfriend, Juliette and the nasty little guy who’s known as The Colorman. Lucien and Henri take the reader for a ride on the crazy train, encountering figures in the French art scene along the way.

What I Liked : Author Christopher Moore is uproariously humorous. There were numerous “ROL” (read out loud) moments throughout this novel. Characters such as fictitious Lucien and Juliette appealed greatly. The physical book is gorgeous with images discussed in the narrative and has blue typing.

What I Disliked : Some curse words here and there don’t bother me but the language used by various characters was beyond nasty. Also, I thought sometimes Moore crossed the line between amusingly irreverent and crazy wicked. One point late in the novel made a reference to bestiality that had major cringe factor.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Bobby Vinton Blue Velvet – YouTube

Setting : Paris, France with stops in the French countryside, Italy, England, and the US

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Seeing the Story – Sarah’s Key

Paquet-Brenner, G., Marsil, S., Joncour, S., Scott-Thomas, K., Arestrup, N., Mayance, M., Richter, M., … Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc. (2011). Sarah’s key. Beverly Hills, CA: Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Reasons for Watching: after reading Tatiana de Rosney’s Sarah’s Key, I wanted to see the movie. Eventually, our requested copy arrived at our nearby HCPL branch.

Summary: On July 16, 1942, French officials arrested more than 10,000 Jewish men, women, and children living in Paris. They placed these Jews in the Vélodrome d’Hiver (Vél d’Hiv) an indoor bicycle racing cycle track in deplorable conditions before shipping them off to German concentration camps. As the French police arrest ten-year old Sarah and her family, Sarah locks her little brother in a closet, taking the key with her. When Sarah finds out the officials never intend for her go home, she relentlessly attempts to make her way back to her hidden brother.

In 2009, Julia, an American journalist residing in Paris with her French husband and daughter, takes on the assignment of writing on the Vél d’Hiv Roundup. As Julia and her family move into her father in-law’s apartment, she discovers that it’s the same place where Sarah and her family lived.

Book to Movie Adaptation: The movie was well done. The talented cast included Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Charlotte Poutrel, and Aidan Quinn.

While the book I read was in English, protagonist Julia Jarmond indicated when conversations were in French rather than English. It’s a safe assumption that the 1942 interactions were also spoken in French. Much of the dialogue was French with English subtitles.

Of course, the movie deviated from the book in some ways. Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas) lived in 2009 instead of 2002 (I’m guessing they wanted to incorporate iPhones). She already knew much about the Vel d’Hiv. In the book, the reader learned along with Julia. Also, Sarah (Mayance) and her family were much more demonstrative in the movie.

Review: I thought it was a good movie but I wished they’d left Julia in 2002. It’s definitely worth seeing. Unless you understand conversational French, you have to watch as well as listen.

Three and a Half Out of Five Pearls 

Voltaire’s Candide


*1001 Books Book


Voltaire, & Donnelly, D. (1986). Candide. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books.

Candide is the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia. Yet, Candide lives in the Baron’s castle is under the tutelege of Pangloss.  Thanks to his optimistic tutor, Pangloss, Candide thinks everything is hunky-dory wonderful.  Life is good for Candide until he kisses the Baron’s lovely daughter, the Lady Cunégonde. Candide then finds himself out in the cold, cruel world with no skills for survival. Throughout the book, Candide experiences out-of-this world tortures and deprivations. Will Candide maintain his “glass is half-full” optimism, only the end will tell us.

A precursor to Pollyanna, Candide seems set upon thinking the best will prevail. Yet, catastrophe pursues him and those he knows. Obviously, life isn’t so grand. While those around him adapt, Candide never seems to get the hang of the “real world.” He’s just a good, ignorant guy. Often, the adage “No good deed goes unpunished” rules the life of Candide.

This was pretty good; a tongue in cheek sort of tale which highlights the absurdity of philosophical bents towards optimism. Of course, pessimism isn’t what’s needed, either. No, what is a essential is a balance of happy and sad.

Three out of Five Pearls