Book Review: Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
First Published: Feburary 1, 2012
Source: an ARC provided by netgalley
Genre: Memoir, Food,
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.
Reading this memoir, it’s easy to fall in love with Paris as Amy Thomas sees it. She has a way of describing food not just as the fuel the body needs to survive but rather as something to be savoured and revered.
As a lover of all things sweet and a desire to travel all over the world, at times it felt like this book was speaking directly to me. Amy Thomas, a thirty-five year old career woman who enjoys the single life in New York City gets the opportunity to live in Paris for a year. With the help of a Vélib, Amy travels all over Paris and experiences all the chocolate shops, bakeries and pastry stores that the City of Light has to offer. This book is part memoir, part guidebook. At the end of each chapter Thomas gives a brief selection of venues in both New York City and Paris that offer some of the delicacies mentioned previously in the chapter. There are a lot of French terms mentioned in story. I was over eager and looked up what they meant only to find a definition of sorts in the next paragraph. Whilst some may say there was too many foreign terms, I appreciated the chance to indulge my inquisitive side and felt better educated by the end of it. D’accord?
Amy as a narrator is fantastic. She’s romantic and shows Paris off in a way that you the reader can tell it’s a place she treasures. The beauty of the food and the city are written about with such passion and detail that I could almost believe I’d been there. At the same time, she doesn’t gloss over the negatives – like the pigeons and the unsmiling locals. She describes it in it’s whole. I also liked her attitude towards life – she’s practical and doesn’t take her situation for granted. I love how brave she was to take this chance and I also adored that despite the indulgence of the food, she doesn’t take it for granted.
Whilst reading this book I kept going online and sneaking peeks at Thomas’ blog, SweetFreak. Between the pictures there and the way the chocolates, cupcakes and other delicious morsels were written about, I was in food heaven. It’s a good thing that window shopping (so to speak) is fat-free. It was enough to both make me extremely hungry and at the same time dissatisfied with all the food options I had in my house. I was craving a Pain au chocolat from Paris, a banana cupcake from New York or another of other sweets that I’d just read about.
If I lived in New York or Paris (or was planning a trip to either city in the future) I’d be including at least one or two of the stores Amy Thomas wrote about!
4 out of 5
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