Book review of ‘Closer Together’ – Rediscovering Sophie Grégoire: A call to take her message seriously

Cover of Closer Together by Sophie Grégoire

In a society often preoccupied with the glitz and glamour of celebrity culture, it’s easy to overlook the depth and substance of individuals who occupy positions of prominence. Sophie Grégoire, often seen as just the Prime Minister’s wife, has long been misunderstood and underrated by the broader public. 

However, in her newly released memoir, “Closer Together,” Grégoire is taking back this narrative. While avoiding the pitfalls of gossip and speculation on her marriage, she goes much deeper than our thirst for quick-hit gossip and instead challenges readers to truly sit with themselves, break down walls of defensiveness, and frankly, make this book about them and their journey, rather than about her.

This was immediately evident to me when we chatted with her on our podcast. Out of respect, we asked Grégoire how she would like to be referenced and whether she would like us to use the last name Trudeau. 

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau — mental health advocate, author of Closer Together

While many would read her response of “I’m just Sophie” as a dig at her ex-husband and an attempt to shed the Trudeau name, it was immediately clear to me this was furthest from her intention. 

She really didn’t care what name we used. She wanted the book to be about connecting with her readers – literally being closer together with them – rather than about herself and whatever baggage her name choice carried. 

This is what so many miss about Grégoire. She really has no ego or desire to make this book about her. It’s her way of connecting with people – a desire that runs deep and is seemingly just being awakened.

Digging deep

Grégoire has long been open about her struggles with an eating disorder, and she provides more insight into this battle in her book. While not a novel concept, you learn very quickly that her struggles stemmed from an effort to control what she could in her less-than-ideal adolescent life.

Her evening meals were often eaten alone, and she was thrust into a world of the ‘in-between’ – the turbulent adolescent years between childhood and adulthood that are often rife with self-judgment and a lack of self-acceptance.

You also learn about what an empath Grégoire truly is and how living in such a highly emotional state at all times is both a blessing and a curse. In her memoir, she speaks of meeting a girl at a function who shared, in private, that she was suffering from an eating disorder and her parents didn’t know. Grégoire was moved by this moment and clearly carries these types of emotional exchanges with her – they leave an impact.

Love is slow

One of the central themes of Grégoire’s book is the notion of slowing down, for a number of purposes. In a world characterized by haste and superficiality, she advocates for a deeper connection with oneself, one’s children, and one’s partner. Love, she contends, is not a fleeting emotion but a gradual and deliberate process that requires patience and commitment. 

One could read this as a commentary on busy Ottawa life, but also as a reflection on self-love and our relationships with our children. Regardless of interpretation, it’s clear that Grégoire has dipped her toes into the waters of a fast-paced life and has stepped back onto the sand, with intention.

Pain is a necessary component of evolution

Central to Grégoire’s message is the acceptance of suffering as an inevitable part of life. Rather than seeking to avoid or transcend it, she encourages readers to embrace their pain and use it as a catalyst for growth. This message is particularly poignant in a society that often shies away from discomfort and seeks quick-fix solutions to life’s challenges. 

She challenges readers to confront their own insecurities and defence mechanisms, urging them to embark on a journey of self-discovery and authenticity. It is a call to action that demands courage and resilience but promises profound rewards in return. 

49 and finding her voice

What sets Grégoire apart is her willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue and confront difficult truths. Through her memoir, it’s abundantly clear she’s not content to simply exist on the periphery of public life but rather has a desire that runs deep to make a tangible difference in the lives of those around her. 

“Closer Together” is not just a memoir but a manifesto for living a more authentic and fulfilling life. 

It is time for us to take her words seriously and embrace the wisdom they offer. ‘Sophie’ is clearly here to stay, and on her terms. And I have a feeling she’s just getting started.

Honest Rating: 5 out of 5 stars