Sunday, October 19, 2014

It Was Not Exactly Paris (Book Review, Bonjour 40, Karen A Chase)

"Bounjor 40," by Karen A Chase, is subtitled "A Paris Travel Log, 40 years, 40 days, 40 seconds," and for a wanderlust like me, seemed to be the perfect book to read. Chase, upon turning forty, planned on living in Paris for forty days, and she updated her friends via her travel blog, with each entry to be read in forty seconds. This book collates all her entries plus a couple of refection essays.  Her premise is brave and innovative, and is something a lot of us would probably love to do (I myself would choose London) However, I found that there wasn't a lot of meat here. Chase writes well, and with a spirit of wistfulness. I just wish there was something else - a love affair, a revelation, a transformation - that gave this book a little bit of depth. Even the touristic locations she chose seem run-of-the-mill, and not distinctive from any other travel book out there. For example, she speaks frequently of Dorothee, a lady who owns a crab restaurant near the corner of her apartment, but we really do not get to know her. We don't even know how they met. Writing the book version gave the chance for Chase to expand on a lot of her entries, but she didn't. A missed opportunity, I would say.

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