Paris to the Moon

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

I should have loved this. How could I not love a well-written book about moving to Paris for five years? For a time I was obsessed with moving-to-a-foreign-country stories, and those about France are, for me, the cream of that crop.  

So, where did this one let me down? Well for one thing, in spots it felt more like a class lecture than a travel journal. There was a detailed chapter about a soccer tournament and another about the trial of a war criminal, both of which might be interesting as stand alone essays but not so much in a story about life in Paris.    

For another, the number of French words he used without telling us their meaning became annoying. Yes, you can look them up, but there's a lot of them and looking them up got old fast. 

There are positives as well. He writes with wit and candor about his family's daily life, the frustrations of French bureacracy, the pleasures of French food, and the ups and downs of raising a young child. I'd be reading along with great enthusiasm but then find myself bogged down again in a few pages that didn't seem to fit. It was a very uneven reading experience.

He's certainly a good writer - articulate and knowledgable - it just got to be a bit much at times. Some reviewers raved about it, others tore it to shreds. I'm somewhere in the middle I think - not sorry I read it, but can't say it's a 'must read'. 


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