Told in a straightforward way, this story of Marie Grosholz - who learns to make wax heads, lives in the palace of Versailles, goes to prison and survives the French Revolution to become Madame Tussaud - would make an exciting read. But this book becomes special because of its style. Marie thinks and speaks with a childlike, naïve voice – which is also brutally honest. The language and pictures she creates make this story impossible to forget.
I sat with those new wax personalities, and I felt they were very happy to have me there. They longed to speak, I thought, but were not quite able. There is a melancholy to wax heads: they were never born, they capture life, but life shrugs away from them. In the quietest moments, I whispered to these half-personalities: 'I'll sit with you,' I said. 'Are you frightened of the dark? Don't be.'