Chocolates for Breakfast has been reissued in France by Robert Laffont | NIL, based on a translation of the original text that had not been available in Europe since 1956. Until now, most European editions have been based on a substantially modified version of the story, the French nouvelle édition.

In the UK, Chocolates for Breakfast will be published in June by Harper 360. In Italy, a restored translation will be published in September by Mondadori under their new literary imprint ‘Meridiani,’ with an introduction by the writer and critic Elisabetta Rasy.

Reviews of the French reissue

Le Parisien Magazine
Books we love:

Seemingly written in a single burst of inspiration by a young American novelist . . . it was compared to Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan, released 2 years earlier by Julliard, the same publishing house. Same disillusionment of youth, same background of the author, same awakening of the emotions, same freshness of prose.

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Vanity Fair France
Livres: Fanfare

To seek pleasure without restraint is not without risks, as the young heroine learns the hard way in Chocolates for Breakfast. . / . .  a book of subtlety and disillusionment which has lost none of its sulfurous aura.

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Le Figaro Littéraire
La littérature dans le rétro
(Literature in the rear-view mirror: a roundup that includes the reissues of The Bell Jar, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Chocolates for Breakfast)

One can’t help but note that vintage is back in style. Whereas the realm of fashion and design may have been first to revisit historical or ‘cult’ classics,  the world of publishing is also turning to the past to rediscover some literary gems.  With their covers that borrow from the esthetics of the 1950s and 60s, these books seem to come straight out of a library from the postwar era.  The  best-sellers of the 1950s are making a comeback.

“The American Bonjour Tristesse,” proclaimed the back cover of Chocolates for Breakfast by Pamela Moore, whose novel enjoyed considerable success back in 1956 and which was just republished by NIL [Robert Laffont.] The original publisher, René Julliard, took note of the author and invited her to Paris. She represented the educated, spoiled, melancholic youth of the time. Pamela Moore’s character wanders sorrowfully from Park Avenue to Hollywood where her mother –a second-rate actress –resides. As the New York Times rightly noted when the book came out, “Not very long ago, it would have been regarded as shocking to find girls in their teens reading the kind of books they’re now writing.”

Publishing houses tend to operate along set rules. If these books appeal to a reading public that is now delighted to discover period pieces — then these fine books, generally well-crafted, will likewise be promoted by the booksellers — as if suddenly the hunt for novelty that afflicts contemporary publishing had been suspended. We slow down the passage of time, we look to the past with nostalgia, a past where novels seemed more elegant, more chic.

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Elle Magazine France
A quoi revent les jeunes filles.. .

As luminous as youth, as thrilling as an initiation . . . novels that draw us into a world of wonder and menace, where a young girl must figure out how to grow up . . / . . At 15, Courtney kisses older men and drinks hard liquor in the morning without losing her cool. . . / . . In Hollywood and then New York of the 1950s, these post-Fitzgeraldian youth, comprised of both the privileged and bohemian, plunge into worldly dissolution and alcoholism. Parents can no longer provide moral example to their children. The loss of one’s virginity is not a big deal anymore — but preserving one’s reputation is. . . / . . Pamela Moore wrote “Chocolates for Breakfast” at the age of 18 in 1956. The author endeavored to save her character but was unable to save herself: Pamela Moore committed suicide at the age of 26. And yet her novel, nearly 60 years later, continues to enchant us.

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Livres Hebdo
Breakfast at Courtney’s

Pamela Moore’s novel, which has been out-of-print for a quite some time, has been reissued by NIL in its original and rather kitsch translation of the time.  But that doesn’t impede our enjoyment in following the adventures of Courtney Farrell. Pamela Moore’s heroine is 15 years old. She attends a boarding school where she struggles to read Finnegans Wake by Joyce. Her roommate, Janet Parker, keeps whiskey stashed in a bottle of perfume and strolls naked in front of Courtney, admitting that she feels “terribly sensual.”  .  . / . . Courtney is the daughter of divorced parents. Her father works in publishing. Her mother is a bankrupt actress whose latest movies have been flops. Her second marriage — the news of which arrived to her daughter via an article in the New York Times — is already over, and she drinks, more than she should, “A cocktail composed of a lot of vodka and very little else.” Courtney, for her part, has been allowed to sip daiquiris for a year now.  She gets to discover bloody marys when she joins her mother in Hollywood,where her gorgeous body does not escape the notice of the young boys in the pool. Nor of Barry, who is much older. Which is all quite confusing to a young girl who confesses: “I want to be charming, to have a charming life and to love exquisitely.”

A bitter-sweet confection, to be consumed without moderation, at breakfast or any other time of day.

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Femina Magazine (Switzerland)

It’s easy to see why this novel had everyone talking about it: the author depicts, without taboo, the challenges of growing up.  For Pamela Moore the transition proved impossible: she committed suicide at the age of 26, leaving behind this timeless cult classic.

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And from an earlier review in the same magazine:

. . . these vintage books  have kept all their flavor and relevance despite the lapse of time. We savor them for their reassuring quality, the sociological portrait of a time long gone and sorely missed, and of course, the grace of its prose, whose charm is of a certain age, but not outdated.


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