Valérie Trierweiler review: too blinded by rage to wreak true revenge on Francois Hollande

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 2014, 12:10am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 December, 2014, 2:11pm

Thank You for This Moment
by Valérie Trierweiler
Les Arènes

A few years ago, a young man who had previously seemed sane proved he was otherwise by doing an entirely crazy thing: he dumped me.

The first thing one close friend said to me when I informed her of my tragedy was: "I know you will want to send him an email, but send it to me first. I'll keep it for a few days and if you still want to send it to him then, send it." Incredibly, I obeyed and when, weeks later, I read what I had written, I did not see the persuasively eloquent expression of desolation that I thought I'd crafted: I saw the self-obsessed ravings of a person I didn't recognise, caught in a thankfully temporary phase of something approaching mania.

Which brings me to Thank You for This Moment by Valérie Trierweiler, about the end of her relationship with the president of France, François Hollande. Much has already been said about this much-publicised book, but one question that has not been resolved is this: does Trierweiler have any friends? Because no true friend would have let her publish this book.

As most of the world now knows, Trierweiler was Hollande's partner for nine years, after he left the mother of his children, fellow French politician Ségolène Royal, to be with her. In January this year, Hollande was photographed visiting the Paris apartment of actress Julie Gayet, wearing the pathetic disguise of a motorcycle helmet. "In just a few hours … my life was devastated and my future shattered into a million tiny pieces," Trierweiler writes, in typically overblown language that would not look out of place in a teenager's diary. Repeatedly, Trierweiler complains about the media depicting her as a Lady Macbeth figure, manipulating Hollande's political moves - and just as repeatedly she recounts the instances in which she "advised" him while he pleaded with her to back off. She bemoans being presented as a jealous harpy, and yet she writes in eye-popping detail about her insecurities regarding Hollande's relationship with Royal.

Whereas Trierweiler's affair with Hollande when he was still with Royal was born out of an "indescribable" love, Gayet is dismissed with a sneer as "like a snake in the grass".

It's a shame, really, because if Trierweiler were not so blinded by her rage she really could have wreaked the revenge on Hollande that she claims to desire. Her descriptions of the socialist politician's snobbishness and weakness are hilarious, but they are buried beneath layers of sadness and self-aggrandisement. In interviews she has suggested that to speak out is a feminist act: "People want to say that the dignified woman is the woman who shuts up," she said in one. "Is that how we serve the cause of women? I don't think so." But there is a difference between speaking up and throwing a tantrum. I think it's unlikely the cause of women will be served by this book. I am certain the cause of Trierweiler will not.

Guardian News & Media