It was buzzed on Tuesday, its fragments were published in the media on Wednesday, it arrived on Thursday to bookshops and immediately provoked a political earthquake in France. The book Merci pour ce moment (Thank you for this moment) by Valerie Trierweiler, a former First Lady of France and ex-companion of the current President Francois Hollande, became one of the biggest scoops of 2014 public stage in France. In only two days Merci pour ce moment became the biggest bestseller of the last five years and the most commented book of the Holland’s term. After only four days booksellers sold all their stocks (printed in a record number of 200 000 books) and the book is available on second-hand sells’ pages for five times its original price. And all this with 0 budget for publicity and a perfectly kept secret.
In Merci pour ce moment Valerie Trierweiler relates the story of her relation with the French President. A relation which finished abruptly in January 2014 when Closer, a French gossip magazines revealed pictures of Hollande during his trip to the flat of his mistress. After discovering the betrayal, Trierweiler consumed an important amount of tranquilizers and was hospitalized during various days. A couple of weeks after the scandal, the President publicly announced the end of their relation. After the recovering, Valerie Trierweiler announced in the media that she would not go public about the time she had spent with Hollande. Despite this announcement a lot of political commentators predicted that the journalist would one day reveals some secrets in a book.
Of course, the former First Lady did not keep her word and nine months later she published a book in which she mixed private matters with some observations of the internal functioning of L’Elysee. A great part of the book is dedicated to the portrayal of the French President. Trierweiler depicts him as a man who with the ascent on the political stage progressively started to be hungry for power and disconnected with the reality. She disproves thus the image of the “normal president” that Hollande has built carefully during the campaign in 2012. She describes that the socialist president, despite his public assurance that he was on the side of the poor and the excluded, founded them repugnant. Following the journalist, he would call them “sans dent” (without teeth), making reference to their limited capacities to pay for the dental care. The expression seems already enter to the French dictionary and the whole book is seen by some political analysts as a coup de grace of Trierweiler. Following recent public trust’s polls, Hollande is the less popular president of the 5th Republic. Some residue of his popularity rested on his image of a sympathetic and approachable politician. Merci pour ce moment destroys the only asset of the out of breath president.
In general, the publication received bad critics. It was criticized for its “Harlekin” style which in the eye of many buried the occasion to write an interesting inside politics document. The author thanks to her experience of a senior journalist in Paris Marching formerly responsible for the coverage of the Socialist Party, could have written this kind of book, unfortunately apparently still strong resentment overwhelmed the work and made it look like a personal revenge.
Obviously socialist politicians stood behind Hollande and maintained the same line of defense: they refused to book and to comment it. Segolene Royal, ex-companion of the President and current minister of ecology publicly defended the father of her children. Claude Bartolone, the leader of the French National Assembly described the book as “politics of paparazzi”. On the right part of the political stage, Merci pour ce moment was seen above all as weakening the presidential office and thus France. Accordingly, many of right politicians also announced that they would not read the book. Also owners of bookshops voiced their discontent. The wave of clients flooding libraries provoked their angry reaction, as they saw that a paperback romance had higher sells in one week that some classics in some years.
Officially, the Frenchmen decided to follow the decision of politicians and not to buy the book. Actually, there is a tendency of criticizing the book for its mauvais gout, ultimate insult in France. Unofficially, bookshops have been stormed like never before. Booksellers reported that some Merci pour ce moment’s buyers pretended to buy the publication for someone else. Others admitted openly to seek to read the book because they wanted to know better their President. Indubitably, who can know him better than a woman who shared a bad with her?
Following current previsions, Merci pour ce moment should be sold in 500 000 copies.