The Sweet Life in Paris
Because my online life is constantly out of synch with my real life—reading or otherwise—I decided to read The Sweet Life in Paris
not while we were actually spending a week in Paris, but one week later when we touched down in Italy (and I’m now writing this review while sitting at home in Toronto, Canada). Although there is part of me that likes the idea of my reading mirroring real life, I think the truth is—as I have discovered so many times during our world travels—that things often work out better than I ever could have planned them. I’m not sure—had I read this book before arriving in Paris, or even while we were in Paris—that I would have responded to it precisely as I did.
Note that I have purposefully used a neutral verb—respond—to categorize my feelings about this book. In truth, I found The Sweet Life in Paris
a perplexing and, oft times, frustrating read… but as far as fiction matching reality, the same could be said about how I feel about the city of Paris itself. Although our recent visit was actually my third time in the City of Lights, my response to it this time was entirely novel: on previous trips, I had found myself reveling in the city and the rhythms of life and the idiosyncrasies particular to Parisians/the French, swept away by how “worldly” it all was. This time, however, I was the worldly one, and while I don’t pretend I’m too cool for Paris/France/Europe, I found myself flooded with ambivalence for the place. Now, as much as I found things that I legitimately enjoyed and loved, there was a bitter frustration and impatience that adulterated my feelings as well.