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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must If You Love Paris
This book is a wonderful memoir of a New York family that moves to Paris for a period of 5 years with a young son in tow.
Adam Gopnik writes this book in a style of short stories or essays that weave into one great book. He offers a well thought out idea of what must be said from an American in Paris. His comparisons are very real, some light-hearted, some blatantly...
Published on June 6 2004 by V. Marshall

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If You Like The New Yorker Sensibility...
...and think that "The New Yorker" slant on everything is the apex of Western thought, then you'll love this book because you're the kind of person who goes to Paris and experiences it and notices it the way Mr. Gopnik does. If you detest "The New Yorker"/"New York Times" Manhattan-centric provincialism, you'll hate this book. If you're...
Published on June 4 2004


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must If You Love Paris, June 6 2004
By 
V. Marshall (North Fork, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
This book is a wonderful memoir of a New York family that moves to Paris for a period of 5 years with a young son in tow.
Adam Gopnik writes this book in a style of short stories or essays that weave into one great book. He offers a well thought out idea of what must be said from an American in Paris. His comparisons are very real, some light-hearted, some blatantly profound. Gopnik shows his vulnerability many times as a fish out of water, but he tries harder than the average American to blend into his surroundings and take on some of the easier characteristics of becomming French like developing a fondness for a life of profound beauty, a taste for well prepared food, relaxing into the dining experience of the cafes and brasseries, showing his son the art of the carousel rather than the brainlessness of "Barney", and eventually creating another child born a Parisian.
The best chapters in this book are the ones that Gopnik writes about his son discovering himself in Paris. His favorite food becomes croissants rather than ketchup fast food burgers, his puppy love with a young French girl in the Ritz pool, how he would rather play at the Luxembourg Gardens than with a television and most importantly how he adapts to becomming a childish little Frenchman. With this said the one chapter I would skip is "The Rookie" a portion in the book that somehow just dosen't fit. From the elegance of the French life back to the world of baseball? Personally I would have just left the entire chapter with an editor and walked away.
Gopnik shows how well he has adapted to French life in the portions of the book that he dedicates to the cafe Balzar. This cafe becomes the victim of a corporate buyout and is almost lost until a band of dining brothers glue themselves together and form a secure fortress in pure French flair to save the cafe in its original form, garcons and all! It is an interesting look at how easy and yet how complicated life can be in Paris, all that French discussion can lead to something good.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Paris and craves a walk down its Rues. Gopnik makes little things seem absolutely important and accurately describes all of the large and small nuances between the French and Americans. His wife, Martha, says it best, "We have a beautiful existence in Paris, but not a full life, and in New York we have a full life and an unbeautiful existence." This must be why Paris remains in the minds of most Americans who walk along its streets but slowly find themselves returning home, to the rush and bustle of America with an over-inflated heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If You Like The New Yorker Sensibility..., June 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
...and think that "The New Yorker" slant on everything is the apex of Western thought, then you'll love this book because you're the kind of person who goes to Paris and experiences it and notices it the way Mr. Gopnik does. If you detest "The New Yorker"/"New York Times" Manhattan-centric provincialism, you'll hate this book. If you're somewhere between these two extremes, well, you'll love and hate "Paris to the Moon."
Gopnik is a fine writer and observer it's always gratifying to read well-written expatriate tales. (I lived in Asia for years and am still looking for competent contemporary expat memoirs of Southeast Asia). Some of what he writes is engaging--he takes you inside the national library, demystifies the Ritz, describes everyday rituals that become something else overseas. Some is mundane--if you're not a parent or you loathe (your) children, your eyes might glaze over reading about his son and daughter and wife's pregnancy. Some is excruciatingly precious--the occupation of a restaurant (such revolutionary, soul-shaking activism!), the explanation of how super-expensive French restaurant cooking really is about peasant roots, one person's outrage over a perceived misuse of curry powder.
In short, my reactions to Gopnik's book were pretty much my reactions to Paris. It's hard to tell sometimes if Gopnik is just reporting or really finds all he writes about momentous, but it's refreshing to read contemporary accounts of urban life that aren't layered in irony or polemics.
A good companion piece is Lawrence Osborne's "Paris Dreambook", a fantastical account of Paris's underworld that is feverish and lurid where Gopnik's book is measured and polished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's everybody's problem with this book?, March 16 2004
By 
Robert Slocum (STAMFORD, CT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
I found this book to be perfectly charming. This is a New Yorker writer, whose wife is a filmmaker. Repeat that sentence and ponder its meaning. Some of the readers who have posted review here seem to expect Adam Gopnik to write a book about somebody else's experiences. They wouldn't do this themselves, or have their children do so. They wouldn't expect Hemingway to write about feng shui or Jane Eyre to write about the Peloponnesian Wars. This isn't a history of Paris, or a guide to the subway system. Perhaps Paris brings out self-obsessiveness; perhaps living in any other country does; but I compare Gopnik favorably with Anais Nin and Henry Miller, two other self-obsessed American writers in Paris, and wonderful writers they are, albeit in the 30's. (And by the way I think Gopnik is possibly Canadian; certainly his wife is.) His touch is lighter than Miller's. His affection for his family creates a warmer sort of familiarity than Miller's (which is very winning in its own way). There's a can-you-top-this aura to Henry Miller, whereas Gopnik just marvels at things and shows off his whimsical humor and gift for association. At the same time I find his prose to be more concrete and outwardly directed than Nin's. Not a high bar, that!
Gopnik makes it clear from the outset what his and his wife's admittedly enviable plans are for the next five years, for the duration of this book. Buyer beware.
I would agree that he takes awhile to hit his stride, but Gopnik's talent for generalizing from common experience is wonderful. The parallel he finds between Americans' attitudes toward sport and the French's toward government officiousness is priceless. He manages to come to an understanding of soccer, a feat that to my mind compares favorably with writing, say, War and Peace. He may wander for a time in fashion circles (were I in Paris with the appropriate press pass I would too), yet he has a talent for bringing the whole crazy scene down to earth. He and his wife are raising a boy and (near the end) giving birth to a girl, and I find nothing wrong, and everything praiseworthy, about giving this side of his life center stage from time to time. The description of pregnancy and childbirth in France is one of the most memorable parts of the story.
As you might expect, there is plenty here about food, and about restaurants, and about language, and about globalization, and about New York, too, aka home. As with New Yorker writing at all times, the prose is idiosyncratic, breezy, maybe a little unedited. That's just the way it is. I guess if you like it, you love it, and if you don't you don't.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Sinfully boring, Nov. 29 2012
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
This book is sinfully boring. As a travel memoir, it fails to capture the reader's imagination, and if I'd read this before going to Paris it might have discouraged me from going at all. If you're looking for a good travel memoir, try Chris Harrison's Head Over Heel instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A father in Paris, May 14 2004
By 
JM II (Athens, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
Paris to the Moon follows the relationship of a new father with an old city. The book's anicdotes describe Parisians and the awkward curiosity that Americans have with the Gallic personality. Gopnik is a Paris romantic, but doubts that the city remains the international capital of culture.
Gopnik is a New Yorker at heart, but has a tremendous desire to understand and to fit into Paris. This dilemma never resolves itself, but Gopnik's struggle is a journey that is unique to contemporary America (and Paris). The desire to be separate from New York, a romanticism for Paris, and the uncertainties that come with being a father mix for a touching description of an American abroad.
As a casual speaker of French, a new father, and a lover of Paris, I found the book insightful and meaningful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light Touch, Deep Thinker, Oct. 17 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Hardcover)
What a sublime book! Adam Gopnik combines an amazing breadth of knowledge about the world (actually, about many worlds) with an impressive eye for details. And what details! Paris bursts into view here as though we're looking through a steroptikon for the very first time. Highly recommended to Francophiles, Gopniphiles and all readers who long for a book they can say they loved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reflections on the city of light, May 2 2004
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
I enjoyed Gopnik's book, primarily due to the mixture of personal reflection and careful observation that make up these essays. The essays about French cooking were certainly confirming in that the history of cooking is grounded in peasant fare and a return to those roots is a central theme in understanding good cooking foundations. I was most impressed however not by the essays on French government and culture but by the soft personal loving sections of the book on Gopnik's young son. Gopkik and his son swim at the Ritz pool in Paris where they meet two young girls. Gopnik's son's playful love for one of the female children was written so well and so transparently that I was amazed. The boy responds like a puppy, abaze with attraction and energy, swimming fearlessly in the deep end of the pool, like a magnet, a duckling, a male. Gopnik, the wise father, perfectly reads the situation, seeing eros engulf his little child, and supports the situation so that his son fully experiences this first taste of the honey and sting of the beautiful other.The children order expensive hot chocolate every day after swimming, which Gopnik endulges. It is Gopnik's wife upon discovering the VISA card balance that brings reality back into the picture. I would say to Gopnik "Your choices were correct, as you yourself know. The good father allows a child to experience the pull of beauty in the world, aware of the risks, aware of the rewards." I expected thoughtful essays because I have been a New Yorker/Gopnik fan. However, the passages on his relationship with his young son were sublime.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Picks up where Liebling left off, April 22 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
If you enjoyed A. J. Liebling's Between Meals, An Appetite for Paris, you will probably enjoy this memoir of Paris.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American in Paris, April 7 2004
By 
HeyJudy "heyjudy" (East Hampton, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
PARIS TO THE MOON is a wonderful book, that rare kind of book that leaves its readers feeling happy. (The title is explained in the first segment.)
Author Adam Gopnik wrote many of these pieces as the permanent correspondent for the "New Yorker" Magazine in Paris. According to the foreword, a few other sections are seeing print for the first time here, coming directly from his personal diary.
PARIS TO THE MOON covers a five-year interval during which the author and his wife lived in Paris with their newborn son. The vignettes included are very personal. Gopnik tells of their adventures as strangers in a strange land, celebrating the similarities in everyday life and delighting (pretty much) in the differences.
So many of us, so many Americans in Paris, do love that city and this book will strike a chord in anyone who ever has visited there. And it also will resonate with any reader who, simply, loves good writing, because this is writing at its best.
The only complaint is that this reminiscence is too short!
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1.0 out of 5 stars A dreadful memoir, Dec 27 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
This pretentious and narcissistic memoir may be useful if you are a member of the glitterati. Otherwise, look elsewhere for an authentic glimpse of Parisian life.
His experiences are bear no resemblance to the lives of any average (or above average) Parisian, but embody the experiences of a snobbish expatriate who is far removed from the realities of his readers.
His familial anecdotes gave me the same cornball emotions of a bad "Full House" rerun. The stories of his son could just as easily be one of the wretched Olsen twins displaying their fake cutesiness to a maudlin television audience.
His insights are vapid, superficial, and excessively sentimental: Hardly a breakthrough in French cultural studies. It is certainly not deserving of the fine reviews churned out by his publicity manager.
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Paris to the Moon
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (Paperback - Sept. 11 2001)
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