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Originally published in 1977, Do What They Say or Else is the second novel by French author Annie Ernaux. Set in a small town in Normandy, France, the novel tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Anne, who lives with her working-class parents. The story, which takes place during the summer and fall of Anne's transition from middle school to high school, is narrated in a stream-of-consciousness style from her point of view. Ernaux captures Anne's adolescent voice, through which she expresses her keen observations in a highly colloquial style.

As the novel progresses, and Anne's feelings about her parents, her education, and her sexual encounters evolve, she grows into a more mature but also more conflicted and unhappy character, leaving behind the innocence of her middle school years. Not only must she navigate the often-confusing signals she receives from boys, but she also finds herself moving further and further away from her parents as she surpasses their educational level and worldview.

Annie Ernaux was born in 1940 in Lillebonne, France. Her novels have won many awards and recognitions, including the 2008 Marguerite Duras Prize and the Prix Renaudot, and three have been named New York Times Notable Books. She is also the author of Things Seen (Nebraska, 2010). Christopher Beach is an independent scholar and translator who has written and edited books on both literature and film, including Claude Chabrol: Interviews. Carrie Noland is a professor of French literature and comparative literature at the University of California-Irvine and has published translations of Aimé Césaire, Éric Suchère, and Édouard Glissant.