When I heard about American pastry chef David Lebovitz’s book about his adventures in Paris, The Sweet Life In Paris, I wanted to lay my hands on it immediately. The romanticism of Paris, yummy food, anecdotes about life in a foreign city and the author’s brushes with the culture there – what more could I want in a book? I thought I was all set for a wonderful reading experience when I ordered this book. Sadly, that was not to be.
The anecdotes that Lebovitz relates are funny, and some of them had me laughing. His insights into life in Paris – especially the food culture – are interesting to read, some surprising as well. The recipes are great, too, and made me drool. The book even made me take a quick trip to our neighbourhood bakery and pick up a chocolate mousse. 🙂
That said, the writing style of the author did not quite hit it right with me. The book reads more like a collection of lukewarm, hastily written blog entries, without depth, only hinting at what could have been great stories to read. The narration is very informal, and the recipes give the book a feel of some scribbles in between recipes in a cookbook. In my humble opinion, a bit more in-depth narration would have taken this book to new heights.
There is a lot of generalisation in the book, too. The author is quick to poke fun at things and people he doesn’t like, but that is balanced by the fact that he is just as quick to laugh at himself as well.
Overall, The Sweet Life In Paris did not turn out to be the exciting read I had expected it to be. It did not make me dream about visiting Paris, sitting in that cafe and sipping that hot chocolate or munching on that delectable piece of cake. It was, for me, a book that could have been a lot better. Of course, that could be just me, because I have read some wonderful reviews of this book across blogosphere.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?