Monday, April 30, 2012

Paris In Love: I Can Understand Why

Published: April 3rd, 2012
Paris In Love: A Memoir
By: Eloisa James
Random House Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 9781400069569

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).

Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a most enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.


   Romance author Eloisa James and her husband decided to go live in Paris for a year with their children, after her Mother died of cancer and Eloisa herself was diagnosed (early enough for curative treatment).  So in 2009 she went on sabbatical, they sold the house and moved to Paris, intending to relocate to NYC upon returning.  This book follows the adventures of Eloisa, her husband Alessandro and their children Luca (14) and Anna (10).  This memoir has everything a reader could want - heart, true family interactions/situations, hilarious misadventures (both children and parents) and LOTS of food descriptions, with a couple recipes thrown in.  I think what got me so interested in this book was the personable tone of it's revelations.  Eloisa admits that a lot of it was compiled from Facebook and Twitter posts during that year.  It's not a stretch, considering it does feel choppy in the way that it moves from event to even sometimes.  I have always loved her romance novels and her memoir was a great read, well worth the time.  Especially to find someone who loves fairy tales, chocolate and her family as much as Eloisa.  Some of my favorite parts were when she was reading a book written by an ancestor who also lived in Paris (and was a bit of a pompous ass).  Her comments made me laugh out loud.  I always felt sorry for the poor, morbidly obese chihauha Milo stuck in Italy with Eloisa's mother-in-law Marina, who insisted that there was nothing wrong with him.  Anna's nemesis and later best friend Domitilla and their respective antics also provided much amusment to me as reader.  Here are a couple of my favorite passages:

'French chickens come with heads and feet still butcher cradles the bird like a baby, then waggles its head toward Anna, Turning the bird into a clucking version of Jaws.'

"The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles is gracious, elegant, and jaw-droppingly beautiful. I drifted down the center dreaming that I was a member of the nobless ancienne, my imaginary skirts extending three feet to each side. We all had audio tours; over the elegant sound of a British man informing me about architectural details, I heard Anna talking to her cousin Zoe: 'I dare you to pick your nose in front of that mirror...Go on, I dare you!"

I highly recommend this book even for the most reluctant of memoir or non-fiction readers.  You will be happy you spent your time with this book.  It will make you laugh, want to cry, sympathize and feel warm inside.  Eloisa James is a wonder!

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published April 3rd, 2012.*

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