Sunday, July 15, 2007

C'est la Vie -by Suzy Gershman Book Review

C'est La Vie
By Suzy Gershman
Penguin 2004 Website - Suzy Gershman

I have always loved Paris and the French culture, the language, the history - ever since I was a little girl. I will read (almost) ANYTHING about France, so this book was an automatic purchase. I saved it for a later time, and the Armchair Challenge was the perfect time to read it. Today was the perfect day to read it.
I took my son to the local splash pool where he spent 6 hours splashing in the water with his friends, shooting water from water guns, blowing bubbles and generally having a good time. I spent most of that time sitting in the shade reading this book.

I enjoyed it. I really did. I just had one small concern. Did she really need to tell us about her sex life with a 70 something old man? I should have paid more attention to the quote at the bottom of the cover. Anyone who wonders about sex with a Frenchman will love this inspiring story of starting life over in Paris.

I have no idea who Suzy Gershman is, I have never seen or read any of her books. Apparently she writes the Born to Shop series of books for Frommers. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer in late 1999 and died in the first week of January 2000. Within 6 weeks, Suzy was packed and moving to Paris.

I thoroughly enjoyed the stories Suzy told of a foreigner trying to rent an apartment, of figuring out the metro and bus services, of learning where the good shops were. Yes, she complained frequently about the high cost of living, but Paris has always been known as an expensive city. And since she obviously had money, and an apartment, and was still writing her books, Suzy was never in any danger of being made homeless.

But when she started dating the Count (Count of Monte Cristo she called him, because she didnt want to give his real title) I thought she was mad. For three reasons. One because her husband had died only 6 months before and wasn't she rushing things a bit too much, secondly she was only 52 and the Count was almost 80, and thirdly, did she really have to regale us with the details of her sex life? It was rather TMI in my opinion. When the relationship broke up, I thought Serves you right for being dazzled by a title.

I got the impression that maybe Suzy was embarrassed, and that was the real reason she refused to identify him. She could easily have chosen to not mention the Count at all. I think she got some very bad editing advice. Add some sex to spice it up a little. Make it exciting so you will sell more copies. Bad advice. But only about her relationship with the Count. The rest of the book I really did enjoy. Now if she had just mentioned meeting Emeril Lagasse, and I might easily have skimmed the parts about the Count.


Lesley said...

I love the cover!

Have you read 'Almost French' by Sarah Turnbull? It was one of my former book club's selections last year. Here's my post about it if you're interested.

Historia said...

I have not read Almost French, and yes I do want to read it. But first I have to find it. It's been on my wish list for a few months now.