Review: Consent by Vanessa Springora

Title: Consent

Author: Vanessa Springora

Pages: 216 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

The devastating and powerful memoir from a French publisher who was abused by a famous writer from the age of thirteen

‘A gut-punch of a memoir with prose that cuts like a knife’ Kate Elizabeth Russell, author of My Dark Vanessa

Thirty years ago, Vanessa Springora was the teenage muse of one of France’s most celebrated writers, a footnote in the narrative of an influential man. At the end of 2019, as women around the world began to speak out, Springora, now in her forties and the director of one of France’s leading publishing houses, decided to reclaim her own story.

Consent is the story of her stolen adolescence. Devastating in its honesty, Springora’s painstaking memoir lays bare the cultural attitudes and circumstances that made it possible for a thirteen-year-old girl to become involved with a fifty-year-old man.

Drawing parallels between children’s fairy tales, French history and the author’s personal life, Consent offers intimate insights into the meaning of love and consent, the toll of trauma and the power of healing in women’s lives.

The Review

Consent by Vanessa Springora is a memoir about her time as a real-life Lolita. Springora describes her life and her relationship with a celebrated writer in France and how as she has grown up she has realised that their relationship was not one based on mutual affection but one that was manipulated by an older man taking advantage of a younger girl. She looks at the power dynamics and how her innocence was lost to this. Springora also looks at the changing attitudes of the time and how something that happened to her wouldn’t be seen as socially acceptable as it was perceived at the time (not completely accepted but far more so than in today’s society).

Consent is part memoir part social commentary about relationships, society and power. Equally, it is about claiming back your own existence and taking your power back. It is only a short book but it is a powerful one.

Consent by Vanessa Springora is available now.

For more information regarding Vanessa Springora (@VSpringora) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.

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