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This book contains so many French proper names whose pronunciations are so attenuated and exaggerated it was difficult for me not to become annoyed. Writers must just adore writing and saying to themselves the district designation "arrondissement" because it's always specified whenever a Parisian address is required. And the word is equally loved by the narrators, and this narrator in particular enjoyed her own spoken French just a little too much for my taste.
Whatever, it's a good story, a bit shallow and a little heavy on the name-dropping and on the politics, but it has some good things to say about love and family. And there is a very bad example of a dysfunctional love affair, in which our heroine nearly loses the prestigious job she's worked so hard for. How this woman walked away from one guy and one marriage into the next guy (and the next marriage) who happened to be driving by in an armored car is unbelievable.
I am also just not into having that perfect person around me at all times to fill in all the empty spaces and make repairs when I need fixing. It's not about having someone else to make someone feel fulfilled.
Anyway, I prefer when listening to spoken English, to hear foreign words pronounced without accents. Anything else just sounds phony and pretentious.
This book was OK for an afternoon, fine as far as it went, but it could have been so much more.
11 of 15 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Paris to be better than the print version?
I quickly accepted the narrator's voice as the author's … except for her rather stilted French pronunciations, which seemed to have been coached, and almost set off in audible quotes, rather than the voice of a woman who has spoken French nearly all her life. But that was a rather minor distraction.
What did you like best about this story?
Kati Marton's account of her love life, both in and out of Paris, rings true. She presents her story warts and all. Now maybe some things Kati did -- like taking off at Christmas leaving her children with her sister, after just telling them she is splitting up with their father, to go for a spur of the moment trip around France with a man she barely knew -- she doesn't regard as shameful, but maybe she does and in either case I respect her for including such details. There are a number of incidents like that which I would have been tempted to not to reveal in a memoir, but she does and in doing so offers a more honest account of herself and her life.
Which scene was your favorite?
The memoir opens with a quick visit to Paris -- Kati arriving from the US, Richard from his diplomatic mission in Iraq -- which happens to be, unbeknownst to them, their last time together in the City of Love. I almost stopped listening to the story at this point, ready to request a refund. I found Kati's account so smug and self-satisfied and their perfect little marriage so obviously a fairy tale that I turned to the internet to learn more about this unpleasant woman. But finding more evidence of her ambition and social-climbing made me change my mind about a refund. Instead I decided to start the story over again, in the hopes of coming across more examples of her awfulness, for the pure joy of feeling superior -- and yes I did find lots more evidence, but somewhere along the line my envy and dislike melted away and I began to feel interested in and compassionate toward this woman and her story. Is she someone I would ever trust, or be close friends with? Probably not. Would I want a woman like this for my mother? As a model for putting my own needs first, Yes!! Is she someone I would admire and respect -- at least for her drive and hard work? Definitely. I learned a lot from her tale and am glad I stuck with it.
Any additional comments?
I originally chose this book to learn more about France and Paris, and was quite satisfied on this account. I have taken note of many of the little shops and hidden corners that are mentioned throughout and intend to pay a visit the next time I am in Paris.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful