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Petite Anglaise: In Paris. In Love. In Trouble Hardcover – Jun 17 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; First Printing edition (June 17 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385664311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385664318
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 508 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,024,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 23 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Francophiles beware May 29 2009
By wordsmith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
As with others who have expressed disappointment with this book, I have to agree and chime in. I truly wanted to enjoy this story as I am keen on memoir and had once lived in Paris. Despite my predisposition to its premise, I found I couldn't enjoy it as the author comes across as quite narcissistic. So much of the narrative was filtered through what appears to be an endless abyss of insecurity. It made it difficult to relate to let alone find sympathy in her story. For example, she is forever interpreting less than lovely interactions as being done to or as affronts rather than realizing it's her approach and attitude that cause so much inner grief. My opinion of the book was sealed when I found myself repeatedly cringing at the author's descriptions of her toddler daughter. The author exults her romantic life to the detriment of other vital relationships. This book is one dimensional and ultimately a waste of time.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Readable but inconsequential Oct. 24 2008
By Passante - Published on Amazon.com
This is a beach or airplane read. The author can be witty and she is at her best when she writes about everyday experiences in Paris, but too often her obsession with self and her tendency to take herself way too seriously get in the way. Sanderson's blog, especially the early entries, offers more of the light and entertaining anecdotal writing she is best at.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Girl meets blog March 11 2009
By Nancy S. West - Published on Amazon.com
As her memoir opens, Catherine Sanderson has become an unhappy person. She loves her one-year-old daughter but finds motherhood demanding and frustrating. She is discontent in her relationship with her long-time partner. And even Paris, the city in which she's dreamed of living since childhood, is losing its luster for her.

So she finds a new love, ripe to be showered with devotion and attention. Well, she also has an affair. But the real object of Catherine's affection in the memoir Petite Anglaise is not "Jim from Rennes," who becomes her new boyfriend, but rather her blog, also called Petite Anglaise. Indeed, on a dull afternoon when her various sources of malcontent seem insurmountable, Catherine opens a page on her computer and starts writing. And then hits "publish," and a relationship is born.

This is the first memoir I've read about a girl and her blog. (The memoir "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell stemmed from a blog, but the author makes only passing mention of it in the narrative, whereas for Sanderson it is a key player in her life.) At first, the blog is a creative outlet and an escape, but it gradually takes on the role of savior. Through her blog, she not only vents her feelings but also experiments a little bit. Like a lot of people, Catherine is a little more clever, a little sassier, a little more adventuresome in her writing than in her real life. Although she initially believes Petite Anglaise is merely a reflection of herself, she eventually comes to recognize that it is more, and as her life develops in new directions - she makes new friends through the blog, breaks up with her partner, and starts an affair with a reader - she gradually begins to question whether she is living through her character, whether her character is controlling her, or just what the releationship between the two -- the real Catherine Sanderson and the blog persona - might be.

Artists have explored the relationships between themselves and their creations ever since the myth of Pygmalion, and the fact that Sanderson uses the state-of-the-art social media to do it doesn't make this an entirely new story, but as blogging and other forms of social media such as Facebook becomes epidemic, it's interesting to think about who we are in relation to our screen selves. Sanderson isn't a fascinating or even always likable person, but she's willing to admit that, both to her memoir readers and to readers of her blog. She struggles with her decisions, and for every time she second-guesses herself, most notably when she breaks up with her daughter's father, she has dozens of blog readers chiming in with their own opinions in the "comments" section of her blog. The unexamined life may not be worth living, as Socrates said; the overexamined life, brought to us by Netscape, presents a whole other set of challenges.

Beyond the questions of blogging and self-reflection, Sanderson simply has an interesting story to tell about life as an ex-pat and young mother in Paris. She loves the city but struggles with its limitations - the daycare situation, the difficulty of finding a suitable apartment, even the dingy appearance of the city of light in late winter - and this memoir is enlightening for those aspects as well as the ones related to social media. Sanderson isn't always a terrific writer, and her romantic scenes border on the Harlequin-esque, but possibly that's the point, to some extent. She's not a great writer but we like reading about her anyway, because she's so candid and so real. And that may be the beauty of blogging.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Fun to read, especially as a former ex-pat; didn't like the disloyalty Aug. 27 2008
By Tribeca Girl - Published on Amazon.com
WARNING: SPOILER.

For those of you who have lived abroad, this is a fun read. However, I was not comfortable with the public deception. Even though the character is not married, she and her long term partner had a baby together and her partner deserved more respect, particularly since this is a true story and the character maintains a not-very-private blog. In other words, I appreciate that we can fall out of love with our partners, but I can't imagine her partner appreciated the public display of her complaints about their relationship and about her feelings for another man.

Aside from that, I enjoyed her descriptions of Paris, her love affair with another culture and her honesty regarding being a working mom.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
at times, nauseatingly self-absorbed Aug. 4 2009
By E - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I thought Sanderson's book was a fun beach book. However, some may take issue that the premise of her book is her story about cheating on her baby's father with another expat in France. That storyline could have been more highlighted. The advertising of the book is clever.

At times, Sanderson's point of view is gratingly self-absorbed, a sort of idealized narcissistic snapshot of a woman's familial betrayal and rise to internet star-dom.

I would have enjoyed more anecdotes on her raising a bilingual child and/or more snapshots from everyday life French life with highlights on food, etc. but it's essentially a very conceited narrative of an affair.

Nonetheless, engrossing.

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