My (Part-Time) Paris Life – Lisa Anselmo (2016)


Lisa Anselmo has, on paper, the life I aspire to: writer, living part of her life in her own Paris apartment. My (Part-Time) Paris Life is both Travelogue and memoir. Anselmo mourns the death of her mother, a loss felt most deeply as she explains she was extremely close to her mother. Through the book, Anselmo’s neuroses are laid bare – her anxieties, her attachment to the past, her desire to always remain in control, her struggle with living in France with only passable conversational French. In time, she learns more of the language, makes friends and immerses herself in Paris. 

I usually enjoy books where I feel i can relate to the protagonist, or in a memoir, with the author. In the case of Paris life, I felt too connected to Anselmo’s neurotic tendencies – there sections of the book which written as though the inner dialogue in her head, questioning her choices, second guessing herself and fearful of any change or deviation from her plans. That voice is in my head, too, making it challenging to simply enjoy the book, as i found myself empathizing to this point of frustration. It’s a little scary to read your own inner dialogue in another person. 

A reader who enjoys travel memoirs would enjoy this book, however, it is at times less a love story to Paris and more a brunch with your neurotic girlfriend, wherein she explains how her life has gone abs what has landed her doing what may or may not be making her happy. 256 pages

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