As a kid, I wanted to be Martine*. I wanted to be as gracious, kind, consistently perfect. I wanted to have a mother who could bake me a cake.

So what about my own mother? Well, she was on the streets burning her bras. I had spent so many hours reading and rereading the Martine series while rubbing my cheeks on the candy-colored images. This was how I learned to draw.

Then Martine got me excited over her doggy, Patapouf. This was how I discovered Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five. I immediately identified with Claudine**, the fierce, rebellious, headstrong tomboy in the group. I was so fascinated with the book series that if I had a dog for a pet, I would have named it Dag’***. I had so much fun analyzing the stories and its characters that I learned how to read even before I began school.

Later on, I wanted to be Marine. You say who? Well, she was my neighbor, four years my senior. This girl was grace and rock n’ roll personified. Being older gave her the right to try everything before I could and she loved talking about her experiences. I watched and learned. This was how I began to light my first cigarette.

Of course, this search for one’s identity was a solitary pursuit. Didn’t say a word about it to anyone because I found it extremely embarrassing and thought that one day, I’d be over it.

Wrong. The habit didn’t stop there. On the contrary, my life’s filled with heroes and heroines, ideal intellectual figures and role models.

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* Martine’s adventures are translated into several different languages where she goes by various names. She’s said to be Debbie in the US version. Whoa, and so many other aliases! Among them: Zana (Alabania), Tini (Indonesia), Christina (Italy), Touline ????? (in the Arabic version published in Lebanon), Mapuka (Macedonia), Tiny (Netherlands), Anita (Portugal), Marinka (Slovenia), Martita (Spain), Mimmi (Sweden), Aysegül (Turkey). Source: wikipedia.fr  Still, some of the books translated in English have kept the original name of the character.

** Claudine is Georgina a.k.a George in the original English version.

*** Dag’- short for Dagobert. The dog is called Timmy or Tim in the orginal English version.

Translation : Magali Eva Suárez.