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Petite Anglaise: In Paris, In Love, In Trouble Hardcover – 28 Feb 2008
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'Addictively readable' -- Mail on Sunday
'I loved it' -- India Knight
'Light, frank and tremendous fun. Like all good writers, Catherine's work enables us to appreciate the diversity, possibilities, trials and beauty of life.' -- Rory MacLean, Guardian
'Self deprecating, funny, sensitive, interesting, Sandersons' book is an insight into the nitty-gritty of life as a "Petite Anglaise"'
'Written with breathtaking candour, it will appeal to existing fans and new readers alike' -- Daily Express
`A wonderful train journey read.'
-- In Style UK
`Petite Anglaise is an addictively readable account of the highs and lows of life behind her alter ego' -- You Magazine
`Written with breathtaking candour, it will appeal to existing fans and new readers alike' -- Daily Express
Living in Paris with her partner, the workaholic Mr Frog, and their adorable toddler, Tadpole, Catherine decides to alleviate the boredom of her metro-boulot-dodo routine by starting a blog under the name of Petite Anglaise. Writing with disarming honesty about Paris life, about the confines of her hollow relationship with Mr Frog and about the wonder and pain that comes with being a mother, she finds a new purpose to her day. As Petite Anglaise, Catherine regains her confidence and makes virtual friends, including one charismatic and single Englishman who lives in Brittany, James. And after meeting James one evening in a bar, Catherine feels she has regained her ability to fall in love, too.See all Product description
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Catherine does not attempt to justify her thoughts or actions. She does listen when other people criticise her - e.g. her friend Amy telling her that she has been very self-centred and unobservant of what other people are going through. She is aware she is hurting Mr Frog, but knows he is unhappy with the relationship as well. I think it is just part of the human condition to become bored with long term relationships and to want to escape. Life can sometimes seem to be the same day after day. Some people stay with the situation, others choose to bail out - it is a personal decision.
We only learn of our effect on other people as we get older - it is not something which is easy to learn. Perhaps she should have realised her relationship with James was doomed, but it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement and not see it for what it is.
I found this book interesting and enjoyable. If the author had presented herself as perfect I would probably have given up on it. Her failings make her more interesting not less. Set aside your pre-conceptions and read this as an example of the blog to book phenomenon.
When I started the book I wondered how on Earth I'm supposed to review a non-fiction book. I still don't know so I'm going to wing it! I apologise if my review causes offence, and there's a good chance it might, but I have to be honest and admit: I really disliked Catherine and thus, I really can't say I enjoyed the book.
It was interesting is as much as I enjoyed Catherine's honesty. I didn't like what she did but I admired her honesty. Apart from that I didn't like Petite Anglaise at all. Catherine was just too difficult to warm to - she came across selfish and very self-absorbed. Her treatment of Mr Frog and Tadpole really wasn't great. I couldn't have cared less if her relationship was failing, she should have broke it off before having her affair with James. The way she and James got together was beyond belief. She met him online in the comments of her blog - it sounds so unreal.
There also didn't seem to be much between James and Catherine in relation to their relationship. Sure they talked about what they might do but it never really seemed as if anything would come of it. (And ultimately, it didn't.) I was with Mr Frog when he said that all James had to do was to say the things Catherine wanted to hear. Even when Catherine was with James she still came across selfish when James couldn't be with her (like their day at the beach - they all went out and still she wasn't happy!) She also started picking faults with James as well saying he'd worn jeans she hated to meet her friends. I mean, come on!
What I'd really like to know is why Catherine said she'd like to do the book because many people would pick this up having not read the blog (like me, I'd heard of the blog but never read it) and would think, like I did, that Catherine comes across as really unlikeable. I also wonder about it's true story intentions as most of the dialogue seemed corny and stilted. It seemed fake, and filler for the book, rather than actual conversations had taken place. Catherine's friend Amy confused me - generally when people are cheated on they don't condone someone else cheating yet Amy seemed perfectly fine with it. The cover screams chick lit which in my opinion is false advertising. Some would pick it up expecting a light and fluffy read and what Catherine does is not light and fluffy! I really wouldn't recommend reading this unless maybe you enjoy the blog...
The book follows the true-life exploits of Francophile blogger Catherine, obsessed with France since a teen and always determined to live there one day. And she does. Happily ensconced in Paris with her french boyfriend 'Mr Frog' and adorable toddler daughter 'Tadpole' she catalogues her life in France from an English woman's perspective and hence, Petite Anglaise is born. Only Catherine isn't wholly satisfied with her life afterall, and after an encounter and emails with one of her blog commenters 'Jim from Rennes' she starts to wonder if maybe there should be more to life than what she presently has, and so her world, and the world of those around her is turned upside down.
I never read the Petite Anglaise blog, which is maybe why I felt the book to be dry in places. Catherine also came across as very selfish- neglecting both her work and even her daughter at times to meet 'Jim.' She also admits that at times she exaggerated her blog to make her stories funnier, and alas it got me wondering just what was true in this book and what wasn't. Unlike other books I've read about Paris, this one made it appear a bit seedy unfortunately as there was deceit and misery through most chapters- it's a good thing I've been there and know better! Nevertheless, I think this book would make a good beach read, just don't hold out for a fairytale chicklit romance.