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Imperfect | The cracked mirror of appearances

Former fashion editor in a Quebec magazine, Sophie Montminy explores, in her first novel, the cult of appearances, the pressure of perfection and the wildlife that inhabits the universe of social networks. Under its veneer of lightness, imperfect raises deep questions.

Posted yesterday at 9:00 a.m.

Valerie Simard

Valerie Simard
The Press

Since she put the end to her story, Sophie Montminy has worn the word “imperfect” on her right forearm. This working title, which finally imposed itself, marks the end of the personal therapy that writing this story was for her, which spanned six years. Why this indelible mark? To remind him that, like Anna, the main character of his novel, his desire to be perfect once made him lose his way.

“It’s hard for me to get out of this shackles, she remarks, even now, after all these reflections. »

After burnout and depression that she ignored, the one who is now a web consultant and host of the podcast series iron women admits having developed an addiction to social networks.

At first it was a passion, it became an addiction. It totally freaked me out and it became like a way of surviving. It felt good all the time until it hurt.

Sophie Montminy

Like her character, she fell into this “rabbit hole” that social networks can be. Driven to live one’s life in the eyes of others. This is how, in this story, which was initially intended to focus on the obsession with images, that of social networks took a large place.

Chaos

We meet Anna, a young editor who works for Gisele, a fictional Montreal fashion magazine. There is of course the side glam : trips to New York, meetings with models, photo shoots, launch events.

Finding herself backstage at a Katy Perry show to cover the launch of her perfume, Sophie Montminy experienced it. But there is no question for the author of proposing a Quebec version of Devil Wears Prada.

Yes, you have access to that, but it’s 5% of the work. The rest is chaos. The chaos of pressure, of deadlinehard work, ‘it doesn’t sell this time, you have to change everything next time’.

Sophie Montminy

From his time at the magazine Wink, from which she resigned in 2016, Sophie Montminy has a bitter memory. “To see my gang fall, to see a lot of people burn out, disillusioned people who say: ‘I can’t take it anymore.’ It is an unhealthy universe. It is behind the scenes of this environment, at least the one she knew six years ago, that she wanted to bring her readers by leaving rose water in the closet to expose the vulnerability of her characters… and sometimes their dark side.

Its first draft having been drawn up in the midst of a wave of denunciations, the movement #weather deeply shaken it to the point of leaving its mark in the plot. “I softened it because at first it was a huge anger for me. To see all these people falling apart and to say to myself: ‘This is all just a facade. Behind, we know nothing.” My book is a backstage of all that facade. »

Social networks and society

If there are tragedies, imperfect is not a sad story. It’s a lively and light one, populated by flamboyant secondary characters (Clo the stylish stylist, John the youtuber who is a hit with his make-up videos, Fannie the beautiful influencer and Vince, alias “Mister Abs”). A world where gravitates a community of influencers who thrive on self-portraits and the number of views. If it is fashionable, in intellectual spheres, to criticize and despise influencers, Sophie Montminy condemns this denigration.

“For me, it’s a bad fight. The medium of social media is society. “With good and bad. And the influence that can be positive.

John, for example, is a character who lives off his passion. Just because you talk about pots of cream and then lipstick doesn’t mean you’re negative.

Sophie Montminy

Unsurprisingly, it is mostly young adults that she wants to reach. “Young people push me a lot. I see more and more of this anxiety and this very young depression happening, which I experienced, by force, by experience, by something that happened in my life. Not at the start of your career. “With a cover to match, she hopes to see her novel find its way onto TikTok, then onto the table devoted to this platform in Indigo bookstores which, she laments, is dominated by American authors.

“I am perfectly aware of what I wrote, says Sophie Montminy without complex. I am fully aware that my story is popular. If you feel like making yourself fun with that, go for it ! It’s due Sex and the City, if it tempts you. But it can be something else if you want. You can read it and ask yourself questions. »

imperfect

imperfect

Quebec America

352 pages

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