"Paris in Love"
By: Eloisa James
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).
An enchanting tale of living in Paris for a year, Eloisa James is truly at her best during her latest book, “Paris In Love.” I love James' romances, so when this nonfiction tale was released, I was first on the list at my library. A huge fan, I absolutely had to read about her year in Paris. I had followed her time in France a bit through her Facebook Page, but it didn't even come close to comparing to how enchanting the year really was.
Eloisa has a wonderful way with words. With just a few words, you can literally picture exactly what she is trying to convey. She's not too wordy, nor are her descriptions flowery...they are just perfect. Take this description of her neighbors:
A row of elegantly narrow dormer windows sprouts from the building opposite my study. Sometimes a gaunt woman with beautiful cheekbones and sleek black hair pushes open her window and leans out, smoking and flicking the ashes onto the slate. Today she wears a red dress and looks as if she belongs in an eighteenth-century novel, the kind in which heroines come to a bad end. (James, 95).
“Paris in Love” chronicles Eloisa and her family's time in Paris. Restaurants, family outings, flowers, homeless, pets; it's all fair game. Funny and at times, heartbreaking, Eloisa leaves no stone unturned in her quest to document her year. It's extremely hard to describe how the book ebbs and flows, but its a natural progression. Her children's troubles in schools and her neighborhood trips are talked about extensively, but my absolute favorite parts of the book deal with the family pet, Milo.
Milo has been back to the bet for a follow-up visit. To Marina's dismay, her Florentine vet labeled Milo obese, even after she protested that 'He never eats.' Apparently the vet's gaze rested thoughtfully on Milo's seal-like physique and then he said, 'He may be telling you that, but we can all see he's fibbing' (James, 63).
Today Marina announced that she wants to buy Milo a raincoat as a Christmas present. So the family – sans Milo – trooped out to a shop in the Marais that sells accouterments for small dogs. Anna snatched up a tiny, blossom pink confection trimmed with rhinestones (I might add that Milo is aggressively male, and fond of attacking dogs four times his size). Flouting the girlie stereotype, Allesandro inquired if the coat came in a larger size. The shopkeeper asked about Milo's breed, in order to choose the appropriate coat size. 'No, no, he's not Chihuahua-size,' Alessandro told him. 'He's more like bulldog-size.' The shopkeeper looked most disapproving, and pointed toward three or four coats in the corner: the plus-size department. From these meager pickings, we chose a transparent raincoat with jaunty purple trim. (James, 91)
We are all rather horrified to find that the transparent raincoat, designed for a French bulldog, does not fit around Milo's ample middle. It doesn't have a prayer of fastening. (James, 93).
This book is so much more than a memoir of Eloisa James' time in Paris. It's an insight in a family thrown into an unfamiliar situation and how they dealt with it. They didn't know the language, yet they flourished in the Parisian environment. A lovely story of a family, life, and what Paris can do for your soul, I'm hoping I get to visit Paris one day too. AND if I never get to, at least I've lived through Eloisa's time in Paris!
|Happy reader with my Eloisa James card (That's me!)|
|Daisy Jane, the slightly heavy dachshund, posing|
|Incidentally, while trying to take a picture with the book, Daisy was distracted by dinner being put on the table|
Publisher: Random House
Date of Publication: April 3, 2012
# of Pages: 272
Places to buy "Paris in Love"