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Adèle Summary & Study Guide

Leila Slimani
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Adèle.
This section contains 918 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Adle Summary & Study Guide Description

Adle Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Adle by Leila Slimani.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Slimani, Leila. Adèle. Penguin Publishing Group, 2019. Kindle Edition.

The novel begins with the third person narrator following Adèle, the main character, as she attempts to refrain from her sex addiction. She goes on runs and tries to stay distracted with work, but on the way to work in the morning she looks at her secret white phone and sees the name “Adam” in her contacts. She gets off the train and goes to Adam’s house and has sex with him, then goes to the newspaper where she works. Her husband Richard, a doctor, had gotten her the job. She used to find it exciting, but ever since sleeping with her boss, she has become bored, and she only likes working there because it gives her a lot of freedom and room to roam. She goes to the office’s Christmas party and searches for a man to sleep with. She wakes up in a stranger’s bed and goes to work. Her colleague teases her about her wild ways, and she scolds herself for being reckless.

Adèle and Richard take their son, Lucien to the coast. Richard wants to move to the country and have another child, but Adèle does not want to leave her life in Paris. Adèle and Richard have an almost entirely sexless marriage, but occasionally Adèle feels compelled to have sex with Richard to keep him appeased. They have sex in their hotel room and she feels nothing for him, like always.

Back in Paris, Adèle goes to her best friend Lauren’s photo exhibit. Adèle had been avoiding Lauren ever since she has slept with her boyfriend behind her back. Adèle feels guilty, especially when Lauren accuses her of only using her as an alibi. Adèle goes home and promises to change her ways for good this time. She once again concentrates on work. A text from a man she met in Madrid comes into her white phone, asking to meet again, but she deletes it. Adèle goes to a dinner party at the house of Xavier and his wife Sophie. Adèle comes onto Xavier, but he rebuffs her. Adèle goes to the country with Richard to see his family. They look at a house to buy. Xavier calls Adèle and says he wants to see her. Richard gives Adèle a brooch for Christmas, which makes her feel old.

Back in Paris, Adèle picks up Lucien from school and takes him home so she can get ready to see Xavier. Xavier asks Richard to cover his shift so Adèle can come and meet him in a hotel. They have sex and Adèle goes home. The hospital calls and says Richard has had a scooter accident. Adèle goes to see him and learns he must have surgery on his leg and remain at the hospital for a week. She leaves and sees his doctor outside smoking, then asks him for a drink. Adèle sends Lucien with his grandparents and visits Richard all the time. Richard quits his job and decides they are moving to the country immediately. Adèle leaves and goes home, where she orders two male prostitutes and asks them to bring cocaine. They engage in rough sex and in the morning Adèle finds she has been robbed. She asks Lauren to take her to pick Richard up from the hospital, and asks Lauren to borrow money.

Adèle takes care of Richard and goes back to work. She misplaces her white phone. She goes to a strip club where she is called a whore. She goes out to dinner with Xavier, who says he wants to end their affair. Adèle tells him she loves him, but plans to break things off with him soon because he bores her.

The narrative swerves and reveals itself to be omniscient. Sophie finds Xavier’s phone and finds incriminating texts. When she confronts him, he tells her that he is in love with Adèle. Sophie goes to Richard and tells him when Adèle is not home. Richard tells her to leave and not say anything. Richard finds Adèle’s white phone. He threatens to divorce her and take custody of Lucien.

A six-month time jump occurs. Adèle and Richard are living in the country with Lucien. Richard monitors all of Adèle’s behavior in an effort to save her from her addiction. He wants to give her more freedom, so he tries to teach her to drive by herself, and gives her more access to money. When her father dies, he encourages her to go to the funeral by herself, confident that she will return. When Adèle leaves, she meets Lauren and parrots all of Richard’s ideas about the benefits of living in the country when Lauren questions the wisdom of her decision to leave. Adèle goes to her father’s wake and gets in a fight with her mother. Adèle drinks and goes out to a bar. Adèle kisses strangers and dances with men, who pass her around and laugh at her. Richard goes to station to pick Adèle up, but she does not arrive when she is supposed to. He vows to wait for her and help save her no matter what.

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This section contains 918 words
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