“This arresting autobiographical novel pulls no punches; rather, it lands them on the reader as frequently as fists descend on its subject. The Eddy of the title is a child born to below-the-poverty-line parents in an isolated village in rural northern France in 1992. According to the cover, 24-year-old author Édouard Louis was himself born in Picardy, in 1992, but the information is unnecessary; although Édouard’s editing of his own childhood into Eddy’s creates a deeply disconcerting sense that the horror we witness is merely the tip of the iceberg, we are never in any doubt that only real life could be this bleak. Starting in closeup, with 10-year-old Eddy being assaulted in a primary school corridor, the narrative presents us with a compelling series of snapshots of a family and community where daily life is structured by working-class rage, male violence and alcohol. For an effeminate boy like Eddy, this world creates a perfect storm; his survival is not just in doubt, but simply impossible.”