Saturday, 16 December 2017

"How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are" by A. Berest, A. Diwan, C. de Maigret and S. Mas.

Title: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits.
Authors: Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas.
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall: 10/10

From four stunning and accomplished French women--at last--a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves. In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude, and men. The authors--Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas--unmarried but attached, with children--have been friends for years. Talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.

Jo's review:
Definitely not what I expected, thank goodness. I thought it would be a zany and peculiar set of anectodes full of indulgent gaiety. But instead, I got a book that behind a colourful curtain of sarcasm and self-distance provides a guide on how to be Parisienne. Walking the streets of Paris it is extremely easy to determine which women are actually Parisian. They are charming, sassy, smart. They are impossible to miss. The guide is divided into chapters such as Get the Basics, Own Your Bad Habits, Cultivate Your Allure, Dare to Love, and Parisian Tips. It doesn't have any formal structure or story, it's more like a series of snippets of advice on lifestyle, beauty, love and an attitude to the world and to yourself. It's been written by four Parisian women who (with loads of distance, irony and an ability to laugh at themselves) take a look a the Parisienne manner of living.  I absolutely loved this book. I really enjoyed the humor, I laughed a lot while reading it, especially the times when I recognized myself in some of the pages. It's a good self-check when you start analyzing the way you carry yourself in the world. It's a one afternoon read filled with sarcasm, aesthetics, and tips on French Joie De Vivre

Favourite bits:
“She doesn't have a ring on each finger or a big diamond on each ring. She doesn't wear a gold watch that costs as much as a fancy car. In fact, she doesn't own a fancy car. She doesn't carry an enormous designer bag. But she might have a newspaper under her arm. She might mention Sartre or Foucault in a conversation. It's her personality that sparkles and nothing else: the signs of intellectual wealth.”

"Always look as if you're gazing at the sunset. Even during rush hour on the metro. even when picking up frozen pizza from the supermarket."

"Take the time to talk to the elderly lady next door, to read a book, to walk to work instead of riding the subway when it’s a beautiful day. Take the time to escape for a weekend with friends. Take the time to listen and to get to know yourself. Take the time to change, to grow, to rest. Take the time to say yes, take the time to say no. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to look after your body, to eat well. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want. Take the time to take time because nobody else will do it for you.