The original title for the challenge was “a book your mom loves” but I changed it since my mother was not an avid reader. She valued books and would often read to my sisters and me when we were little, but other than that I do not recall ever seeing her with a book in her hand. When it came to books, the majority of the time she had a few books that sat on her bedside table, and proceeded to remained there. They sat on her table till she moved them to clean, but I don’t think she bothered to actually pick one up to read it. My mother was into too many other things to sit down and read a book for hours on end. So finding a book with pictures (it helps since she was a magazine junkie), and that would spark her likes and interests was quite the challenge. Luckily I stumbled upon How to be a Parisian; where ever you are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas.
The beauty about this book that it was written by four Parisian women, so I trust the authenticity of what advice they would give someone about being a proper Parisian. The book covers a wide array of topics like love, life, style, beauty, relationships, family life and everything else that one would need to know in order to transform yourself into a proper Parisian woman. Each topic is drawn into little articles with pictures to capture the reader in various forms and fashions. The pictures are beautiful, and clear with a soft filter giving it that “Parisian” and romantic feel. This book oozes French lifestyle and sophistication, and is the ideal companion to a day by the pool or at the beach. If you are looking for a lovely read that will automatically transport you to another country, then this is your book.
I loved the short snippets or “chapters” in this book, which made it a light, breezy read to enjoy in the sun. It was the book I took with me to the pool when it was 90 degrees in Southern California, and it was the ideal choice as I was getting my “base” tan before summer hit. This book is well crafted piece of literary beauty with advice that would be equivalent if it was received from a loving friend. It is an easy read that doesn’t need your constant attention, but to enjoy casually which makes it the perfect “summer book”. Even though it is not an attention grabbing book, it is hard not to be captivated by the elegance that dances across the pages. Each page reminded me of my time in Paris, by displaying its history, architecture, lifestyle, along with seeing the people who occupy this city and giving it personality. Woman, especially Americans, have always been a little fascinated with the Parisian woman, or maybe it is just me. Their cool, casual approach to life and fashion always had me wondering, “What was it about them that made them so wonderful?” or “How do you they make it look so easy?”
There were parts of the book that I could easily relate to like the belief and practice of barely wearing makeup (I tend to be on the au natural side myself), that style should be just as simple with key pieces to give you personality, keeping their relationships private, and how they approach each every day. I love that they do not “go on dates”, HA! Parisian woman, according to this book, do not believe in dating or going on dates. They tend to hang out instead and tend to only “date” people they know, and would never dream of going out with a stranger. This is a strange concept but absolutely brilliant!! There is so much pressure on dating these days that it is sometimes better to just get to know someone, hang out then when you do have a relationship, it has already been defined by the time spent together. The Parisians, also do not believe in having a Define the Relationship talk, which seems refreshing yet foreign. The relationship has already been defined up to that point so a talk is not necessary. This concept blew my mind. But Americans are different, so it would be a challenge to change the concept of dating and society’s expectations of it. Of course there were a few things I couldn’t agree with: how they bring up children, their distaste for the French countryside, and the way they host dinner parties. But overall, I enjoyed my little rendezvous with the Parisian woman and her lifestyle.
So you may be asking, why would I choose this book for you mother? Besides it being a lovely, easy novel to read, with pictures, my mother had a deep love for France, especially for Paris. I have a journal of her talking about her first time in Paris with my father and how magical the whole city was. It was love at first sight for her. From the ancient architecture, to the lackadaisical approach to life and the little cafés on every corner, she could have easily moved us all to Paris if my father would have allowed it. It was her favorite place to visit, and I love having her journal and seeing how she viewed such an amazing city. Whenever I go back to Paris, it always reminds me of her. Paris was her city, and it will be till the end of time.
If you are looking for a summer read, or just a little escapism in your life I would highly recommend this book! Bring out your inner Parisian, you will thank me later! If you love France, Paris or French things be sure to say what you love in the comments blow, or you can say what you hate, either way be sure to share!
Buy it on Amazon: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
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