Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
In 1995, the Gopnik family left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York for the urbane glamour of Paris. For the next five years, the author filed his "Paris Journals" to the "New Yorker" and his sojourn traces a sentimental re-education in what it means to be an American in Paris.
I bought this book with the understanding it was Gopnik's memoirs of being an expatriate in Paris, raising his young son. I expected (and, I'll be honest, wanted) heavily romanticised paragraphs describing the beauty of the city, and lyrical prose on what it means to be a new Parisian. Having lived in Paris for a time, I enjoy reading of other's love for it, particularly those who, like myself, were new to the scene. Unfortunately, Gopnik did not deliver what I was expecting. His prose was dead set on describing the political events of the time, and the events leading up to them. Oh, yawn. I am not a political kind of girl; my eyes glaze over horrifically.
The 'story' is more of a clump of essays and journal entries Gopnik wrote whilst living in Paris. I say clump rather than collection as they did not flow together in any way that I could tell. There was no incentive to continue reading; I was loathe to pick it up, and the disjointedness was nothing but painful. I learned nothing. They lived in Paris for five years and told me absolutely nothing about the city. I lived there for eight months and could tell you a million things; I could tell you what it's like to lie on your back on the Champ de Mars drinking wine out of the bottle and gazing at the tower; I could tell you how it feels to do your first big shop in a French supermarché; I could tell you a thousand stories of weird and wonderful people I met only on Metro trains. Gopnik told me about worker's strikes, government nonsense, and current affairs (which, considering his soirée lasted from 1995 until 2000, is now ancient history) and barely anything of his Paris, which is really what I was looking for.
Please don't waste your time with this one; it went absolutely nowhere, and is entirely mediocre. I have better stories about Paris in my Hotmail sent box. High hopes, long fall.