Title: Paris in Love
Author: Eloisa James
Publisher: Random House 2012
Genre: Travel memoir
Reading Challenges: Semi-charmed — Memoir; ; Dewey — 910s; Mixing it Up — Travel
How I Got It: I won it!
In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog).
I am sad to say that this was a DNF. I read almost halfway through this book before deciding to put to down and move on. Please don’t take my DNF to say that it is a horrible book. It’s just I could get behind it at all. Let me explain. The structure of the book is short vignettes. At least, that’s what the introduction implies. I thought I would be reading short vignettes or essays from James’ life in Paris. But no. These “vignettes” are based mostly off of Facebook posts James made throughout her year in Paris. Most of them are one paragraph Facebook statuses. They are short with little to no context or commentary. Many of them would be great FB posts, but fail to intrigue me as a reader who is not personally acquainted with the author. Occasionally, James has an essay that caught my attention. She uses an occurrence to then comment on cultural differences or life lesons or sheer comedy. Those were good. Those kept me going for another 70 pages. But in the end those were too few and far between. I just couldn’t get through the intervening paragraphs. I feel like this could have been a much more interesting book with a little curating. Take those interesting pieces and expand to create essays (of more than one paragraph). I feel like I could have gotten behind that book. Alas, this was not that book. And so, I move on to other selections…