I seem to never learn my lesson with my love for the French culture : after the epic fail with „Bonjour, Happiness! ’’ by Jamie Cat Callan (review only in Romanian yet), I still decided to give it a go with ,,How to be Parisian, wherever you are”, written by four french ladies, Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas.
My feeling, after reading the book, is that four famous nobodies, with a huge ego, decided to speculate on a country brand : the fact that France is synonim with art, culture, style and refinement, and use it in a so-called guidebook on how be like the French.
Well, spoiler alert : it was en epic disapointment. All I read, throughout the book, were the thoghts of four grown-up women, but who still leave in a fairytale world, in their own bubble. It’s a book with such impractical advice that it simply makes you wanna cringe. Take, for example, this chapter, entitled ,,How to make him think you have a lover ” (Why would you wanna do that, in the first place?! )
Remember how, from time to time, you read some shitty advice from Cosmopolitan magazine, that you cannot believe actually made its way through a magazine? Well, this article above is like this entirely. I started by underlining what I thought was nonsense, but then stopped middle way, when I realised that all of it was merde.
Of course, things are never fully black and white, there were a few bits and pieces of the book that I did enjoy, and they were all related to la Parisienne’s style cues. I particularly enjoyed this ,,less is more’’ philosophy :
A few more quotes that stuck with me, most of them style-related :
- A signature item never gives itself away. It’s timeless. It transcends fashion. It is discreet – the letters of the alphabet (two Cs, a large D; the combination of Y, S and L) belong on an ophtalmologist’s chart. For the Parisienne, luxury should never be spelled out.
- What you won’t find in her closet:
Three-inch heels. Why live life halfway?
Logos. You are not a billboard.
A fake designer bag. Like fake breasts, you can’t fix your insecurities through forgery.
UGG boots. Enough said.
Style lessons asside, what makes this book a no-go is the mere portretization of the Parisian woman, which is the theme itself of the book, and was supposed to be the attraction of it : instead of making you fall in love with her, you might actually end up hating her, if she indeed is as described in the book. And I quote :
- She loves being asked what she thinks. And of course that makes sense because she’s already done everything. Seen everything. She knows it all.
- The Parisienne is always late. Unlike you, she has important things to do, she’s a busy woman.
- She doesn’t always say thank you, doesn’t always say hi, but will always complain about the rudeness of Parisian waiters.
- She cancels a date at the last minute and apologize, but won’t give him a reason.
- How to act like a Parisian: Leave a party when it’s in full swing. (even your own.) Embrace your inner snob. (Because let’s face it, that’s who you are!)
If indeed all these things above mean embracing your Parisian side, excuse me, but I’ll pass.
Well, at least, since it’s a crappy book with no real substance, it has nice pictures.