The Sweet Life In Paris

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?

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14 thoughts on “The Sweet Life In Paris

  1. Oh you read it! I felt much the same way too.. About it feeling like a collection of hastily written blog posts rather than a book with any serious insights. I too dismissed it after a first read, and its uncanny but your thoughts are almost identical to mine! But I have found myself going back to specific chapters again and again and enjoying them as little excerpts ever since. i think the fact that the author is actually a food blogger and not really a novelist, should be kept in mind while reading it..Its what I forgot to do.

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  2. I have a question for you TGND, do you buy these books or borrow them from a library? I ask because I like to own very few choice books which I will read another time. And going by your reviews you do read a lot? Just asking:)

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    1. @Chattywren

      I like owning the books I read, largely due to some silly notions. 🙂 Hence, I try to look for bargains on my books. I usually buy my books from Blossoms or other thrift shops in Bangalore (pre-loved ones; I do not buy pirated copies or e-books). If some book enchants me so much that I just have to get it (like this one did), and I am not able to find it anywhere, I get the OH to buy it for me off Flipkart or some other book shopping website. So, I adopt a thrift + splurge technique for my books. 🙂

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      1. @Chattywren

        You are welcome! 🙂

        Yes, I do have a good collection of books. I am *thinking* about giving away some of them, which I am sure I don’t want any more. Just the thought of that is enough to depress me. 😦

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