Paris in Love: A Memoir
By Eloisa James
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: April 3, 2012
It’s been a very long time since I read a memoir and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I appreciate and admire Eloisa James for giving us a small glimpse into her life. Despite her personal struggles leading up to her year in Paris, she remained strong for her husband and children. She didn’t give up and that is a testament to the wonderful person she is. If I hadn’t already met her, this book alone would convince me of that.
I adore this book for many reasons, but two stand out. One was her descriptions of Paris, a city I’ve never visited, but want to after reading this book. Through her imagery, I could see the vivid colors and landmarks throughout the city; I could smell the fresh bread and delicious foods; and I could hear the melodious sounds.
It’s night, after a day of rain...the windows are open and the strains of a glorious opera pour from the conservatory down the street.
Very early in the morning, the only light comes from tightly closed bakeries. Chairs are upside down on top of tables, but the smell of baking bread feels like a welcome.
Paris (and our apartment) is so dark and quiet this morning that I feel as if I’m entirely alone. The sky is the color of gray flannel, the darkness broken only by the dormer window of another early riser. The woman who lives in the attic painted her walls yellow, and reflected light bounces out like a spring crocus. If light were sound, her window would be playing a concerto.
One of my favorite quotes in the book is when Eloisa is speaking about desires: It’s nice that life is long enough to give you desires of many kinds. Indeed, how nice it is.
The other reason I adore this book is Eloisa’s interactions with her children. As a mother, I was particularly drawn to that. She didn’t sugarcoat anything—she spoke about their difficulties along with their triumphs. And it’s obvious how much she loves them and is proud of them.
I loved this entry. It hit close to home and reminded me of my daughter.
Anna in the bath, arguing over her bedtime. “Why,” she wants to know, “can Luca stay up until ten o’clock and I can’t?” “Because he’s fifteen,” say I, “and when he was eleven, he had to go to bed at eight o’clock, too.” “How do you know?” she demands. “Because I’m the mother of both of you!” “You might not be,” she points out. “You might be only a mother in disguise.”
And this one makes me wonder if I will experience this with my son:
I always thought boys’ reluctance to speak about their feelings was programmed by culture (nurture, not nature) and raised Luca accordingly. But lately he only grunts when asked questions about his emotions. “I can talk about my feelings,” he said today, when pinned down. “But” (with unmistakable revulsion) “not with my mom.” I do hope whomever he’s sharing all those feelings with appreciates the training I put in.
And one last entry, because the Harry Potter fan in me couldn’t not include this one:
Yesterday Anna burst into tears at bedtime, saying she had no friends, no one laughed at her jokes, and that she was failing school (her report cars indicates otherwise). I pulled out a Gryffindor key chain I had been saving for just such an emergency, and she cheered up while telling me why she was definitely a Gryffindor and not a Slytherin.
Me, too, Anna. Me, too. *g* These entries and so many more made for an extremely pleasant reading experience. Eloisa had me laughing, crying, and sighing, repeatedly. I just enjoyed it so very much. I found myself reading sections to my husband and he smiled and enjoyed them as well. Paris in Love is an absolute treat and should not be missed!