Published: 2012 by Sourcebooks
Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin
Published: 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
I don’t know if it is because I read these two memoirs within about a week of each other but the similarities are so striking that I am convinced that the authors must have known each other. Both leave New York to work in Paris. In advertising. On the Louis Vuitton account. In fact there is mention in each book of a co-worker from Quebec who is in Paris while her fiance is doing training as a pastry chef; the name is different but the coincidence is interesting.
So yes these two memoirs are about life in Paris, both the good and the bad. As someone who is passionnate about Paris (despite only being there once), I could not imagine NOT loving to live there, but then I think about my own move from Winnipeg to Chicago and even without the language barrier it was still a shock.
Amy Thomas’ book focuses not only on her expat life but on her tours of the infinite number of patisseries and boulangeries to satisfy her sweet tooth. In New York, Thomas wrote a blog about that city’s dessert triumphs, and part of the lure of the job offer in Paris was to explore that city’s delectable offerings, and she provides a directory of spots in both cities to enjoy a sweet indulgent treat. Warning: try not to read this book while you are hungry, or you may find yourself looking for cheap airfares to either place (yes, I did this).
Baldwin’s book doesn’t have such a hook, it talks more of his work in the ad agency and his co-workers, and how he tries to fit in and do his job despite his difficulties with the French language. And though Thomas does touch on some of her frustrations with living in Paris, Baldwin does this more specifically, and it provides a more realistic portrayal of how living in Paris is not quite as easy as being in Paris.
That said, it is still wonderful to read about someone experiencing a life I can now only dream of ….. and that is the pleasure of reading.