“Will you be nice?” autobiographical novel by Caroline Elbaz –

“Tu seras gentille ?” roman autobiographique de Caroline Elbaz

First there is the look, a dark, distraught look, of an unbearable sadness, of a painful depth… her frail and slender neck seems to bear so much pain with difficulty… she lowers her eyes and seems to be saying words, the words …

… I turn the pages of the autobiographical novel “Will you be nice?” written by Caroline Elbaz, journalist by training and, as an epigraph to his text, I find a quote from Janusz Korczak “The child has the right to respect for his dignity and his self-esteem, not to trample on, not to humiliate, to let live without discouraging, or rushing, or rushing, respect for each passing minute.”

This same Janusz Korczak author of the book “How to love a child” who deliberately chose to be deported to Treblinka with the Jewish children of his orphanage.

“One, two, three… sun… (…) Every morning I wake up with my heart pounding… I’m expecting to die, but I’m not really scared anymore. I think especially of dad and mom… I’m happy I’m still alive… Every day I don’t die…”

Hawthorn this big five-and-a-half-year-old girl lives in a family that today would be described as dysfunctional… “I don’t like my house, it’s too small. And she is very ugly … (…) I think something bad is going to happen every second” …

Hawthorn must listen to the sufferings of her depressed mother who prefers to sleep on a chair than to go to bed with her husband, who admits to her that she was forced to marry a Jew because she had to, that her birth was an accident and that she was born of a rape…

“You are like mom, Hawthornyou will suffer all your life…”

Her mother wants a divorce, she no longer wants to make love with this man she hates, but her husband has “needs”…needs and a job in a clothing workshop that takes up all his time… Hawthorn already understands that her parents don’t know how to take care of her… she has to manage, it’s getting harder and harder…

And then her mom leaves and everything will change… The little girl is alone and sad but her dad doesn’t have time to take care of her sadness… he prefers to start caressing her “zezette”.

“Dad is a vampire” … “Who can protect me?” … “I am dad’s little girl during the day and in the evening I am like a doll that he caresses as he wants …”

The incest began like this and will last almost 12 years… Hawthorn will consult for the first time at 19 Mrs. Weil his psychoanalyst, following inexplicable heart problems, a priori.

Trapped, manipulated in her heart and in her child’s body, Hawthorn supports these abject touches, without force, undergoing, without saying anything to anyone, this universal prohibition.

… And then there is this “kidnapping” by her mother which will last two years, two years immersed in the atmosphere of mother, aunts, cousins, two years of hearing her father denigrated, whom she nevertheless loves despite everything … two years during which she will learn that she is Jewish, and that it will have to be hidden…

And it is when a judge decides on his placement in the children’s home Draveil belonging to theDARE, that the irreparable will be committed by this father dominated like crazy by his desire… submission eventually settled the body is violated forever…

“It’s colossal, monstrous all these efforts and all this energy that I deploy to pretend to live…”

It is at this moment of my reading that the words, the sentences become unbearable, the unspeakable has happened, too much loneliness, too much sadness, too much penetration of soul and body.

Abandoned by her mother, oppressed by amazement, delivered to her predatory father, Hawthorn pretends on the outside to live and accepts incest on the inside…”

“I could never kill my father”, she says. “My drama, to love this despicable man.

A first hospitalization in a psychiatric unit will help Hawthorn to visualize a possible way out of her torments…because, as the doctor who takes care of her explains to her, “we can, from what exists, unravel certain parts and reconstruct new things that suit us better.”

Yes Caroline ElbazI have read and heard the words of the little girl in black and white, and because your writing is beautiful, sober and so heartbreaking and you suggest it in your preface, there is indeed an emotional closeness and intimacy with the reader that I am.

Must read and recommended.

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