My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days
Pages - 236
Publisher - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Blurb from Goodreads
Imagine you are a young mechanic living in a small community in France. You own your own home, and lead a simple life. Then, one evening, you open your front door to find a distraught Hollywood starlet standing in front of you. This is what happens to Arthur Dreyfuss in the village of Long, population 687 inhabitants.
But although feigning an American accent, this woman is not all that she seems. For her name is Jeanine Foucamprez, and her story is very different from the glamorous life of a star. Arthur is not all he seems, either; a lover of poetry with a darker past than one might imagine, he has learnt to see beauty in the mundane.
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE is a warm, witty novel about two fragile souls learning to look beyond the surface - for the first thing you see isn't always what you get!
Arthur Dreyfuss is quite an attractive man, pleasant kind and a mechanic by trade living in a small village. His fairly normal life comes to a halt when Scarlett Johansson arrives at his door, seeking refuge from Hollywood. It soon becomes apparent Scarlett is actually a look a like, her name is Jeanine Foucamprez and her whole life she has struggled to be Jeanine. Slowly they open up to each other, their attraction grows and learn who they really are.
This is possibly one of the most bizarre reads I have read, there is a huge focus on Scarlett/Jeanine's breasts and they are referred to in a fair few passages. The whole thing is almost like playing out a fantasy, the whole town is enthralled with this starlet. Yet all Jeanine wants is someone to see her as her despite encouraging and allowing people to believe she is Scarlett. There are a lot of poetry references dottered throughout the book which was a nice change as poetry isn't something I generally read much to be honest. It also makes you think the impact on people trying to live up to others expectations can have.
There is humour, awkward sex references/scenes, dark discussions fliting over abuse, self harm, love and personal growth are just some of the issues covered. I am not normally one to comment on covers but this one is quite quirky and appealing, despite not knowing this author I would have been tempted with the cover alone which isn't always something that draws me. This is also the book Scarlett Johansson apparently tried to stop from being published which I am sure only encouraged sales. The story left me feeling like I had missed something, I finished it thinking I had missed the point of it, I didn't hate it I actually found reading it relatively easy, I just didn't get it. 2/5 for me this time, thanks so much to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I think I would read this author again, the writing was easy to follow and different from what I would normally pick up myself, I just didn't really get this particular tale.