After being homeless for nearly three decades, Jean-Marie Roughol’s life is about to change for the better. Roughol started writing the book two years ago, sitting on park benches, making notes in school exercise books. Debre was the one who challenged Jean Marie Roughol to write his book, after overhearing two passers by whispering to each other “did you see that, Debre is talking to a bum”. Roughol told French reporters that he was afraid to put words to paper at first, because he thought pretty low of himself. City Dance Spring 2016 Showcase Performers: King Charles, Doc Lock, Ian Eastwood, and More! A Parisian beggar is now a bestselling author after his book detailing his life as a homeless man sold nearly 50,000 copies.
The posh spot where he usually sits (outside a Chanel boutique on the Avenue Montaigne) gives him access to well-known French celebrities. He started writing his life story two years ago in school books while sitting on public benches. Fast forward to today, when Roughol has become an unlikely star with some TV guestings and a growing Facebook popularity, Roughol is still seen in the same Paris streets begging for money. While he seemed to be enjoying what he does, as he considers being homeless a profession, his success with the book has given more motivation to pursue his dream of opening a creperie.
According to Martin Chilton at the Telegraph, the slim book, which was published by Calmann-Levy this past October, was drafted by Roughol in school exercise books from the park benches and sidewalks outside boutiques on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. All skepticism aside, it would be hasty to declare that Roughol’s book is mere fodder for a politician, especially given the very real response the book has elicited.

Soon enough, Roughol will start earning royalties for Je tape la manche, which he plans to put towards achieving his dream of owning and operating a creperie. The author also hopes to rent an apartment and purchase a computer so he can continue to write books.
Chad Felix is the Manager of Direct Sales and Library Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller. Je tape la manche: Une vie dans la rue numbers 176 pages of memories about his chaotic childhood and youth, nights sleeping on the streets or in parks, friendships with other homeless people but also fights to defend his territory. Since the release of the book, Roughol has been featured on several TV shows and newspapers across the world. The 47-year-old’s memoirs about begging on the streets of Paris has become a national bestseller this holiday season, selling nearly 50,000 copies and earning him cult status.
He recalls how he was abandoned by his mother and brought up by an alcoholic father, ending up on the streets in his early twenties after losing his job as a waiter.
He got help with writing and editing from a long-time friend, former French Minister of Interior, Jean-Louis Debre. Shocked by their reaction, he told his homeless friend that he could show those pretentious and infatuated people the error of their judgement by writing a book about his life. He could only think of his faults, and the fact that he hadn’t frequented school too much as a child didn’t really serve as a motivation to write a book. I found a bedraggled looking avatar sleeping in a cardboard box with a crude sign asking for donations. In his daily encounters with them, he experiences the good and the bad: the former outnumbering the latter.
Roughol met an unlikely friend and future editor in French interior minister Jean-Louis Debre.

Despite all the high book sales the popular author is still a homeless beggar while he waits for the royalties from his book. With the advance from the publisher, for example, he was able to purchase a smartphone, which he uses to keep in touch with his growing number of fans on Facebook. Even better is the fact that the popularity of the book has helped to reintroduce (and in some cases introduce) Roughol to members of his family. He got help with writing and editing from a long-time friend, former French Minister of Interion, Jean-Louis Debre. He used his advance to purchase a smartphone to keep up with his growing band of social media followers. The two met many years ago when Roughol offered to look after Debre’s bicycle as he shopped on the Champs-Elysees, a sweet tale that is also included in the book. This added material to his book where he includes anecdotes and memorable experiences with the famous people he encounters. The two would meet at cafes, where Roughol would hand Debre his notes, and he would transcribe them into a computer. Publisher Calmann-Levy gave him  a small advance which he used to buy a smartphone so he can respond to his growing Facebook friends.

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