Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
From four stunning and accomplished French women -- at last -- a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves.

In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. The authors--Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas -- unmarried but attached, with children -- have been friends for years. Talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.

You will be taken on a first date, to a party, to some favorite haunts in Paris, to the countryside, and to one of their dinners at home with recipes even you could do -- but to be out with them is to be in for some mischief and surprises. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, look natural, make your boyfriend jealous, and how they feel about children, weddings and going to the gym. And they will share their address book in Paris for where to go: At the End of the Night, for A Birthday, for a Smart Date, A Hangover, for Vintage Finds and much more.

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are will make you laugh as you slip into their shoes to become bold and free and tap into your inner cool.

MY TAKE:
I was a bit of a Francophile as a child, so this was a book that I just had to read.

In How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, readers learn not just about the must-haves of Parisienne women, but also their beauty philosophy, life philosophy, as well as hosting philosophy. Readers are also given glimpses of what goes on inside the mind of a Parisienne during certain scenarios like dates and going to the gym.

I liked this book a lot. There were plenty of witty lines and advice, none of which I can quote directly, however, as I only received an uncorrected proof. One of those tidbits of wisdom is saying "What a pleasure to meet you," instead of "What a pleasure," because you don't know if you'll meet them again and in what capacity.

There are more practical and easy-to-follow things here, like a list of essential clothing items. There were also recipes you can try. The recipes are in two sections. The first section contains classic and foolproof dishes. These are: crepes, floating island, mayonnaise and vinaigrette. The second section contain the Sunday recipes, meant for days (like Sunday) where you're too busy to cook things that are too complicated. The recipes are: asparagus with parmesan, eggplant caviar, baked apple, and pea and carrot soup. The recipes on the section do appear to be quite easy to do and don't include a lot of ingredients.

The pictures in the book are quite beautiful. In fact, I don't think they'd be out of place in Vogue or other high-fashion magazines.

The book includes 15 words you will need to know, as well as a directory to the best places to go in Paris, given certain situations like when you need a place for a last-minute meeting, or when you need delicious pastries.

The one thing I didn't like about this book was the part where they practically encouraged cheating on your boyfriend. At first, I thought that maybe they were being sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek. However, the rest of the article did not feel like a joke at all. Basically, the set-up they're suggesting is a benefits-only relationship and not a second boyfriend. I'm sorry, but maybe it's my culture or my religion, but I have never in my life felt that cheating is okay. It's a very bad thing and someone always ends up hurt. My reasoning is, if you're not happy with your significant other and/or feel the need to look elsewhere, then LEAVE YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND GO HOOK-UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Don't jerk around another person and keep them as a back-up plan. Honestly, if it weren't for this part, I would have probably given this book five stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. There's plenty of witty advice here.
  2. The pictures are gorgeous.
  3. There are plenty of useful things included that you can use right away. 

THE BAD:

  1.  The cheating-is-okay part.

READ IT IF:

  1. You admire women like Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel.
  2. You are curious about what it's like to be a Parisienne woman.
  3. You want to be more stylish and glamorous.

RATING:
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