Rat by Fernanda Eberstadt By Fernanda Eberstadt

READ Rat by Fernanda Eberstadt

I had a hard time getting into this book because I could not keep track of the characters. It was hard to tell what was going on at first and to know which people the author meant for me to keep track of because they were going to reappear in the coming pages. It seems like the reader gets dropped into the middle of a movie, so it's hard to know where you are or what precisely is going on. But once I decided I was going to stick with it, I did get it all sorted out and began to care about what happened to Rat, her mother and her brother. Once I got into the meat of the story, there were many details I would love to discuss with other readers, such as talking about Rat's mother and her refusal to believe the truth of what Rat reported to her. Was the main character justified in leaving home? Was the ending satisfactory? Was it plausible? I liked the characters, as far as feeling like they were truly drawn, and I was interested in the plot, but the other elements of Eberstadt's writing were a little harder to pin down. I can't say that any of the writing was impressive as far as the language used by the author. The descriptions of the setting were OK but not outstanding. I had read a review in which the reviewer loved the winds that were described in this novel, so I was expecting to blown away (ha ha) by that detail of the writing, to be more engrossed in the setting, to get a real feel for the place where the events occurred. But I found instead that I was more impressed by the reviewer's fascination than I was by the original text in the book. Anyway, I guess I expected more from this read. Hardcover I can't decide on three stars or four. I really enjoyed it but there was something off about the narrative's voice that I didn't like and about halfway through the book a huge mystery was revealed that I didn't want to be revealed. It should have all been from Celia's perspective, her story, her adventure. I guess I made up my mind, three stars. Thing is, it was a really good story; interesting and engaging; honest, not all Hollywood-y and cliché. It's worth reading; it's probably just my pickiness that got in the way of full enjoyment. Hardcover This isn't a book I would usually pick up, but something about it intrigued me so I did grab it. The writing was particularly interesting to me - it was different, but good. I liked how it was modern (in terms of incorporating relatively recent events). The book also gave me an interesting glimpse into the life of a girl who is poor (in terms of money) but rich (in terms of experiences). At times, you feel bad for Rat (or maybe more for her brother Morgan) but then you read the next line containing Rat's response, and you don't feel bad for her anymore because SHE doesn't feel bad for herself!
Really great book. Hardcover Rat is a lovely little coming-of-age novel by Fernanda Eberstadt, whose Low Tide has been a favourite of mine for many a long year. It's not as lovely-sad and evocative as Low Tide, but it makes a lovely read and is obviously a novel that needs to be filmed.

Rat reminds me a bit of Hideous Kinky--- the vagabond-hippie mother and the daughter looking for stability. But it's not set in the era of hippies and communes. Rat is a post-2001 tale, set in a harsher, darker, more suspicious world. Rat at fifteen grows up watching race riots and drug deals in provincial SW France and knows all about the less pleasant sides of her neighbours. And there at fifteen Rat travels across France to England in search of a father she's never seen, accompanied by her Moroccan stepbrother, a boy she's helping escape the paederastic intentions of her mother's latest Bad Boy boyfriend.

Eberstadt's writing is fluid and spare and incisive and she gives Rat a native intelligence as well as a deep streak of romanticism. Rat is a fine little coming-of-age tale (though the coming-of-age is as much her mother's and her father's more than her own) and well worth a read. Hardcover Gorgeous. I loved it from the start, and then wasn't sure I was going to like it closer to the end. Then all of the sudden the last few pages took me by surprise (ideas, not plot) and I loved it again. Hardcover

Of The Furies, Fernanda Eberstadt’s last novel, Alexandra Jacobs wrote in the New York Observer that it “veers pretty close to genius . . . Eberstadt is an expert, sensual, and at times truly breathtaking conjurer of New York City.” With Rat, Eberstadt has found a new setting she knows well, the South of France, and the story she tells is original, powerful, and heartrending—about a child’s search for a father she has never known.

Rat is fifteen-year-old Celia Bonnet, who lives with her unmarried mother, Vanessa, a free-spirited local beauty, in a farmhouse compound with other single-parent families in the Pyrénées Orientales, a gorgeous but forlorn Mediterranean no-man’s-land just north of the Spanish Catalan border. Rat is the result of a one-night encounter between Vanessa and Gillem, the son of a London model from the 1960s, who used to spend summers in the area and whom Rat has never spoken to or met. But when Vanessa’s current boyfriend starts preying on Morgan, the orphaned nine-year-old who is Rat’s adopted brother, she decides to take Morgan and run away to her father in London. As the novel unfolds, the two children undertake a difficult journey to find the man who might finally explain to Rat who she is and where she belongs.

This is an enthralling novel with a luminous sense of place—both physical and emotional—and, at its core, a bold, engaging young heroine for our times. Rat by Fernanda Eberstadt


I LOVED this book - the characters were all vibrant and vivid - the family dynamic was realistic and the story flowed well. Sometimes the writing was a bit awkward but it was infrequent enough to ignore. The runaway journey of Rat and her adopted little brother to London from France to escape their mother's new boyfriend is riveting and delightful. Rat is a spunky and tough character, someone who I definitely would have been friends with as a teenager. The relationship she has with her brother is seriously beautiful to read.
Highly recommended - one of the best novels I've read in a while. Hardcover What is life like for modern-day teenagers living on the coast in southwest France? Not as idyllic as you might think - as this story about a free-spirited 15-year-old growing up in a commune-like home with a single mum suggests. It's an interesting story - although the writing is a little uneven - about a girl in search of her other self, with her long-lost dad in London. Reminded me a bit of some of the kids I met when visiting my sister during her high school junior year abroad living in a village in southern France. Hardcover Borrowed this book from the local district library after I went to a reading by the author. It's written in beautiful language and reminds me fondly of how self-righteous and invincible I used to feel as a kid. But I can't help but feel too much is packed onto the pages: illegal immigration, the welfare system, London underground bombing, etc., to the point of excessively intentional. And that's probably why the ending, while qualifying as a somewhat satisfactory resolution, feels a little hasty. Also, I was bored by the long chapters of Rat and Morgan trying but failing to get over the border and almost abandoned the book... Hardcover Although at first, I thought I wouldn't love this book, it gently drew me in and took me along the journey of a young teenage girl in France. It is a nice take on the classic identity finding story - a young girl who goes on a journey to find her father. I like how the book also brought contemporary France to life and touched on issues of class and society. The author captured the essence of young adolescence and the struggles of poverty without overdramatizing to make a point. Hardcover I wanted to like this. Runaway girl in french countryside, looking for her father and wandering around Europe. This is just the stuff I love-- girls on the road, hitchhiking, trouble, drifters-- but this just fell flat. It's decent enough, I didn't toss it across the room or growl like I do at most books I dislike, but the writing is from the point of view of a fairly uninteresting teen, and, well, that sums it up. A story that should be interesting and isn't. Read Valencia or Rose of No Man's Land if you're looking for great-- if rowdy-- coming of age stories. Hardcover