Louise Desjardins’ “The Family Girl”: an obstacle course

Inspired in part by her own history, writer Louise Desjardins recalls the Quebec of the 1960s and 1970s in her 25e delivered, The daughter of the family. It evokes historical elements, but above all tells the story of a woman who answers the call for freedom – a novelty – and who decides to make her place in a world of men. Portrait of a company in transformation.

Her heroine is the only girl among four brothers. They give him nothing and even go so far as to change the sidewalk rather than being seen in his company. Persevering, she continued her studies and found a job as a literature teacher in a college.

With amazement, she learns that she needs permission from the bishop to teach. Madame Bovary. And she also learns that cohabitation, well, it’s something serious!

Louise Desjardins shows how far we have come in Quebec over the past decades, but notes that it is not an autobiography. “There are elements of autobiography, but it’s very arranged. It’s an autofiction, but I didn’t want it to be autobiographical, ”she explains in an interview.

“Collective agreements or the fact that I had to get married to be able to keep my job, it is not invented. I was very rigorous about it. I did my research too. But when it comes to childhood memories and everyday memories, I embroidered quite a bit. Memory is very unfaithful: we remember things according to who we are and what we have experienced. My brothers would tell it another way. “

In 1965, the senior brother of the college did not want her to teach Madame Bovary. “It was still on the index. Everything was religious, there were no CEGEPs. Besides, the first time I had a job was in a boys’ seminary. I was not allowed to take the elevator or eat lunch in the dining room. It bothered. ”

The heroine of the novel makes observations. “She realizes that there is a lot of injustice, just for the fact that she is a girl. And that, it continues, it is always a little there. […] When I was writing, I used to say to myself: we left from afar! But there is still a way to go. There are things that have not yet been resolved. ”

Louise Desjardins wanted her novel to be accessible, so that everyone could find their way around. She wanted it to be a history book. “We have had a lot of books on men and men’s lives. It was only in the late 1970s and early 1980s that I was able to identify with women who wrote and who could inspire me. ”

  • Louise Desjardins was born in Rouyn-Noranda and lives in Montreal.
  • She has published several collections of poetry.
  • Love, her first novel, was published in 1993 and has won her numerous awards.
  • She has published numerous novels, a collection of short stories and the biography of Pauline Julien.
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