Manu, 36, is a mother like so many. One day, like so many others before her, exhausted from running after his cock, prisoner of a life she hasn’t exactly chosen, she breaks down.
Known story? Not quite. Next to the track, the latest novel by Karine Glorieux (Mademoiselle Tic Tac) published these days by Quebec America, is certainly in line with several other texts on the great fatigue of women. A heavy trend and not exactly joyful – we think of À boutte, by Véronique Grenier, or In the land of quiet despair by Marie-Pierre Duval – which the author however approaches with a daring angle: humor.
When she proposed the project to her publisher, Karine Glorieux even sold it as such: “It’s a comedy about burnout! »
Indeed, we laugh a lot reading the misadventures of this perfectly imperfect mother, torn between her “disheveled” superego and her “wannabe-zen” counterpart. She blunders, drinks too much, and blunders again. And not halfway. But several aspects of his slip, his questions about the mental load of women (why does depression affect twice as many women as men?) and his heartfelt cry about his fatigue ring a little too true not to. have a solid background of true. “Yes, I’m tired,” the narrator said. Tired of being a single mother, a self-employed worker, a hard worker but a slacker at heart, and of finding that my face wrinkles a little more at the end of each of the days that I have not seen go by. »
Met last week, Karine Glorieux (to whom we owe the Ma première fois collective), whom we have interviewed often enough to know that she runs half-marathons like the Manu in her novel, but probably not enough to know the underside of his mental health, confirms: “It’s not my story, she says, but there are bits that are very true. »
She is neither a single mother nor self-employed (she teaches literature at CEGEP), but yes, Karine Glorieux also had a real “panic attack” a few years ago. She, too, suffered from “adjustment disorder”, and at first refused treatment. Ah yes, and she too, she went on a “nowhere” to see elsewhere if she was there (in Florida, by car and on a whim). And no, she had never officially spoken about it before.
Why, exactly? Because the taboo. Because the stigma. Especially when you have a parent who has been there. “I always said to myself: this will never happen to me,” she confides. And when it happened to me, I was a little ashamed. Difficulty talking about it. Difficulty that she overcame by seeing her children grow up and become adults in turn.
And she dares to laugh about it throughout the 243 pages of the story, rich in twists and turns of all kinds. “Laughing allows you to distance yourself from a situation,” she says. And you can laugh about almost anything. […] Having self-mockery is a first step towards healing. »
Ah good ? “When you can make fun of yourself, you can take things more lightly and decide to change them. »
And Karine Glorieux knows what she is talking about. “That’s what burnout is: everything becomes very important, even the most trivial things,” she explains. Folding laundry becomes as important as caring for a sick father. Laughing gives you the opportunity to think: maybe it’s not that important! »
And this tone also dominates the whole text. Besides, she does not hide it: “It’s a novel that I wanted to be optimistic. In her Manu’s existential quest, in search of who she once was and what she has lost with life, years, and motherhood, several important connections emerge: with her children, of course, but also her parents, her friends, and a meeting with an older woman, who was particularly formative. “And those connections are super important. And we women are good at creating them. »
Not moralizing for two cents, Karine Glorieux still wanted her Manu to end up finding herself, thanks in particular to her medication. “She’s taking her bloody antidepressants, yes,” she concluded. She can pull it off, but not on her own. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have help. ” Spread the word. And let’s laugh about it.