From a particularly humiliating accident at scout camp, to the final stages of terminal illness, Daniel Pennac's warm, witty and heart-breaking novel shows the rise and fall of an ordinary man, told through his observations of his own body.
It is with damp eyes (not to mention underpants) that our narrator begins his diary, seeking through it to come to terms with the demoralising quirks of his fleshy confines. Through the joys and horrors of puberty to the triumphs of adolescence, we grow to love him through every growth, leak and wound, as he finds himself developing muscles, falling in love, and then leaving school to join the French Resistance.
Yet, as ever, this is only half the story. As years pass and hairs grey, everything he took for granted begins to turn against him. Tackling taboo topics with honesty and charm, Pennac's wit remains sharp even as everything else begins to sag. This is a hugely original story of the most relatable of unlikely love stories: a human, and the body that defines him.
Translated from the French by Alyson Waters