The List of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt has the prettiest cover I’ve seen on a book in ages. The cover art features rows of buttons, round, heart shaped, flower shaped buttons, all different colours and sizes. I’m not some sort of button weirdo, but this book’s cover is just gorgeous.
The heroine of The List of My Desires, Jocelyne, is 47 years old, runs a haberdashery shop, has a blog about sewing, and a husband named Jocelyn (Jo). Their children have long since grown up and gone. Jocelyne’s father is in a nursing home after having a stroke which has left him with a memory that is only good for six minutes before he forgets recent events.
Jocelyne’s list of desires at the beginning of the book is simple. She wants to be slim and beautiful and never to be told lies.
Encouraged by her frineds who play the lottery, she buys a lottery ticket and wins eighteen million euros. I’m an Australian, so I had to Google to find out how much money Jocelyne won. Eighteen million euros equals 25 million Australian dollars in case you are wondering.
Jocelyne collects the prize money without telling her husband about her win and hides her cheque for eighteen million euros in a shoe. (Can you imagine winning that much money and not immediately banking the cheque? Me either). Jocelyne makes another list of her desires which include tangible things that would improve her day to day life, saucepans and a new coat. This time her list includes something for her huband, all of the James Bond movies on DVD. At this point Jocelyne could make Jo a very happy man, but she doesn’t, the cheque stays hidden.
Jo, Jocelyne’s husband, who reminds her of a very handsome actor very often seems too good to be true. He makes her sandwiches and appears to be caring and considerate, although in her reflections he is portrayed as having been a cruel, unhappy man earlier in their marriage. Regardless of Jo’s earlier behaviour, Jocelyne still loves him and doesn’t want their life to change.
Jo takes Jocelyne on a romantic weekend away. She makes another list of her desires, which are becoming more extravagant. This time the list includes a weekend for Jocelyne in London with her daughter, a Chanel bag and to be told she is beautiful. (Sounds wonderful to me, all she has to do is cash the bloody cheque).
More time passes and Jocelyne still does not cash the cheque. (I know, I know, why on earth did she buy a ticket if she didn’t want to change her life?) Jocelyne’s next list of desires has a house beside the sea and a Porsche Cayenne for Jo. Sadly, Jocelyne realises that being rich means that the little things on her wish list are for her, the stuff of life and she doesn’t want to lose the pleasure that comes from planning for, and eventually buying, a new potato peeler or whatever. Even more sadly, Jo finds Jocelyne’s $18 million dollar cheque and absconds with it (Remember, Jocelyne/Jocelyn? It might be fraud, but it wasn’t difficult).
I think the moral of The List of My Desires is that money does not buy happiness. I would like to point out that money would pay the bills. Jocelyne eventually recovers the prize money Jocelyn didn’t spend and her sense of self. I enjoyed this book, nearly as much as I like daydreaming about what I would do if I won a large amount of money in the lottery, although as I have already pointed out in my earlier review of Lottery by Patricia Wood, I don’t buy tickets, so the chances of this happening are Buckley’s.
My list of little stuff is as follows:
New bath towels, bath mats and face cloths, because mine are falling to bits.
A large Pyrex bowl. I already have one, but I like to bake and another large bowl would save me washing dishes on and off all day when I am cooking.
A curtain for the kitchen window.
I can’t think of anything else that I really want.