Erica Jong's Bookshelf
Renée, the heroine of Colette's novel, is a divorced writer who has gone on the music-hall stage to support herself. We first meet her as she's coping with being suddenly single, suddenly broke, suddenly bereft in a world that is particularly unfriendly to unmarried women. When a rich "stage-door Johnny" falls in love with her and wants to rescue her, she wavers. She contemplates being taken care of again—but in the end she cannot do it. So she goes on with her solitary but free life. The book inspired me because it was the first happily-ever-after story that ended without marriage.