Paris in Love: A Memoir, by Eloise James (2012)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adult
Paris in LoveSelling the house, taking a leave from work, packing up your stuff and moving the whole family to Paris for a year. Who hasn’t had this dream, or a version of it? Eloisa James, a romance author and professor of Shakespeare, does exactly that after surviving breast cancer, the same disease that took her mother’s life. It’s time to live every moment, and so Eloisa and her Italian husband Alessandro (also a professor) and their two children opt for a year in a fourth-floor apartment in the city of love. While on sabbatical, Eloisa intends to write several novels, journal articles, do a couple of presentations and finish an academic tome as well. How did she have time to write this? Well, she didn’t. It’s really a compilation of facebook posts and tweets, and for me, that’s what makes this a mediocre memoir. Based on the reviews at Goodreads and VPL’s community, I’m out of synch again. I wanted my writers to write, for their words to sing and enthrall and entertain me. It’s organized essentially chronologically, and suffers from a lack of structure. Chronologically – I might as well have followed her real-time. And the posts vary widely in quality of writing – mostly dashed off, but sometimes so carefully crafted they seem awkward and pretentious. Ultimately, I liked the stories – she is funny and touching, but I ached for more depth, more storytelling, even in a memoir. My desire for narrative is too strong for this kind of presentation, especially when I was expecting so much from a book about the courage to pack it up and move.
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