When Simone Bodève  first submitted her manuscript 'Petite Lotte' to Bonvalot-Jouve publishers in the 6th arrondissement in 1907. She met Saint-George de Bouhelier - a playwright and schoolfriend of Emile Zola's son-in-law. Bouhelier Sr was a local politician and acquaintance of the poet Paul Verlaine. Petite Lotte was nominated for the French Goncourt prize, but lost out to Emile Moselly and his book Terres Lorraines . The first female recipient of the prix Goncourt was Simone de Beauvoir in 1954.

In his private correspondence,  the writer Vergalen called Simone's book: la petite Sotte - the little idiot but the writer Octave Mirbeau voted in favour of ‘Petite Lotte’. The story of a child who grew up to be a humble flower worker in love with art and her soulmate. Petite Lotte shows Bodeve's concern for the working-class, child welfare, and women's rights. It echoes the times by mentioning a female doctor (In real life, the first woman graduated in France in medicine was Dr Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson in 1875, the first French woman was Madeleine Brès, a carter's daughter who made great advances about childbirth and neonatal medicine). Women were not allowed to vote, and in the lower classes, they were not allowed to keep their own wages. In Petite Lotte, we see the flipside of the industrial revolution  and how it affects the most vulnerable people in society. Since Emile Zola published his series of novels, there had been an interest in the lives of the working-class.  Yet it seemed that novels with a more bucolic setting, were dictating tastes:  For instance Eugène le Roy who wrote the historical novel 'Jacquou le Croquant' Jules Renard (member of the Goncourt academy) with Poil de Carotte.

It was the first novel about the working classes by a working-class woman. The journalist Claire Geniaux wrote in 1921 that the novel appeals because of its literary merits as well as the author's background.  Simone Bodève should therefore be considered as a pioneer of female working-class literature. In fact, there are still only a few female writers similar to Bodève who combine fiction and non-fiction, two of those are the us writers Agnes Smedley and Meridel LeSueur who were inspired by the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Marguerite Audoux published her own memoirs as a dressmaker in 1910 through Octave Mirbaux and her novel 'Le Studio de Marie-Claire' in 1920. A working-class woman as a published author is still rare.