Your Second Life Will Begin Once You’ve Realized That You Only Have One
(Editions Groupe Eyrolles, 217 pages, 2015)
**Spanish, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Quebec rights sold**
Camille, at thirty-eight, has everything she thinks she needs: a husband who loves her and their healthy child, a steady job, a beautiful house, and no material worries. So why isn’t she happy? Why aren’t you? Your Second Life is a novel that will help you find your way out of routine unhappiness.
Camille meets Claude by chance one evening after a sudden downpour causes her to have a car accident in a remote, wooded area. Unable to get service on her cell phone, she searches for help at a nearby house, where a welcoming couple—Claude and his wife—help her dry off and let her use their telephone. After an upsetting conversation with her husband over the phone, Camille breaks down and begins to cry, finding herself confessing her troubles to warm, kindly Claude. “You see, it’s not that I’m unhappy, but I’m not exactly happy, either,” she tells him, “and it’s horrible, this feeling that happiness has slipped away between my fingers!”
Claude suggests that she’s suffering from acute “routinitis,” an affliction of the soul he believes is becoming more and more common in the modern world. Routinitis, he explains, is characterized by chronic, inexplicable gloominess, a loss of focus and energy, and trouble with interpersonal relationships: the sense that you have everything you need to be happy, except the key to understanding how. Claude, a “routinologist,” offers to help Camille rediscover creativity and joy and strengthen her relationships. After some initial hesitation, she accepts, and embarks on a process of decluttering her physical and mental environments. She learns to reshape her perceptions of her world; she rethinks her judgments of and attitudes toward other people—including her husband and her child. The reader who accompanies Camille on her journey out of routine may also find greater happiness.
“Routinology”—a term invented by author Raphaëlle Giordano to describe the art of helping others find the happiness and well-being that eludes them—has its roots in positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, and uses tools such as “positive anchors,” “modeling,” and “white-out missions,” which are clearly explained and demonstrated through Camille’s sessions with Claude. Your Second Life Will Begin Once You’ve Realized That You Only Have One is a guide for readers suffering from routinitis, written in the engaging and entertaining form of a novel.
Raphaëlle Giordano is a writer, painter, and creativity coach. This is her first novel.