The Woman Who Didn't Grow Old by Grégoire Delacourt, Vineet Lal (Translator)


The narrator shares with us her physical growth and the memories she shares with the family throughout her childhood. Then tragedy strikes the family, leading the narrator to realise that beauty does not last.

At seventeen, the narrator sees her father smile again since the tragedy occurred. Also, at this stage, the narrator reveals that her name is Martine. Martine finally understands the bigger picture of her parents' complicated relationship and her father's newly found happiness.

Martine meets Andre at the age of eighteen. She falls in love with him and realises both have certain common aspects in their backgrounds. Martine enjoys her youthful life with freedom. When she is twenty-one, Martine decides to change her name to Betty.

Betty continues narrating her life story with changes in certain ages. When she reaches thirty-five, she realises that she has stopped aging since thirty. Betty finds the new discovery is an advantage because she doesn't have to feel the pain and cruelty of growing old. However, at the same time, she is worried about this abnormal finding as she can't foresee what will happen to her future.

It seems everyone dreams of staying young, but it can be sad and lonely when everyone around is growing old. The author has a different perspective about staying young, which enables readers to view the flipside of stopping growing old. What if someone's immortality causes pain to others because the others have to grow old by themselves? And what if you are staying young outside but growing old inside?

It's not surprising that this book has a low rating, and I'm not sure whether the writing style is the factor, although the story is translated from French. It can be repetitive with the narrator counting her age and describing her differences and changelessness for almost every age she passes through. The pace can be slow as it fills with poetry style of writing in depicting the scenes. I don't know how the original version was written, but I really enjoyed reading the elegant prose, and it was well-translated with beautiful words.

ISBN Number of Pages Rating
9781474612180 (Hardcover) 320 ★★★ (3/5)
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