The Upside: A Memoir of Friendship That Inspired the Acclaimed Film

Abdel Sellou, with Caroline Andrieu, trans. from the French by Lauren Sentuc. Weinstein, $15.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-6028-6570-9
In this heartwarming memoir, which inspired the film of the same name, Algerian immigrant Sellou relates how his 10-year friendship with a rich, disabled Frenchman developed from a chance encounter. In 1975, when Sellou was four years old, Sellou’s parents sent him from Algiers to Paris to live with his aunt and uncle. They hoped he would have a better life than he did in Algiers, but instead he became an aimless youth who mugged tourists. In 1994, Sellou set out to look for a job and met a wealthy man named Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who had been rendered paraplegic by a paragliding accident. Pozzo di Borgo appreciated Sellou’s humor and irreverence and hired him as his caretaker. After Pozzo di Borgo’s wife died from cancer, he fell into a deep depression, but his friendship with Sellou helped him “find the desire to live again.” Throughout, Sellou offers spot-on observations about their relationship and especially “Mr. Pozzo,” who “laughs constantly and at himself more than anything else.” Sellou remains the unruly cut-up, continually providing levity and joy. This is a fresh, uplifting book of loyalty and friendship. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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