There's nevertheless a great deal of humour here, although much of that is black. Would survival have been possible without humour, and anyway is survival in any life possible without humour? The novel relates that the narrator's wife left him after the birth of their third child, Marie, who had no disabilities. Unfortunately, Mathieu dies after an operation for his scoliosis.
Agnès Brunet, the children's mother, published a scathing attack in her blog on Fournier's novel, which she originally called 'Où on va, maman', although for legal reasons some passages were withdrawn, and her blog was re-titled 'La maman de Mathieu et Thomas'.