Before I begin, this review is part of the Green Books Campaign organized by Eco-Libris. Today 100 bloggers are posting reviews at the same time of books that were printed in an eco-friendly manner. It is a worthy cause, so be sure to check out and the other participating blogs. Paris Times Eight is printed on FSC-certified, acid-free paper.
Paris Times Eight is Deirdre Kelly’s memoir of growing up as a Canadian with a deep love for Paris. Throughout her young adulthood and as an adult she traveled to Paris eight times and each time her experience was shaped by the events that were happening in her life: from the first time when Deirdre traveled to Paris as an au pair in her late teens and falling in love with the city for the first time but feeling like an outsider to later slowly feeling the embrace of the city in her other visits as a news correspondent or as an adult seeking refuge from the craziness of her life.
I really loved this book. I fell in love with Paris along side Deirdre and I loved seeing how her mindset at each point in her life gave her a different outlook to the city. For Deirdre Paris is a city of intrigue and mystery, comfort and connection, heartache and loneliness. Each time she visited she learned a little more about herself and her desires. Paralleled with her travels to Paris are the events in Deirdre’s home life in Canada with a difficult mother and a career as a journalist that sometimes took her sky high and sometimes to rock bottom. Deirdre Kelly takes great care in writing about all of her experiences and made me feel like she was pulling me into an intimate embrace.
Two quotes. The first comes from the first chapter and the second from one of the later chapters. The quotes parallel one another and show how the city treats her on each visit. In the second she is with her fiance, Victor, who has never visited Paris before:
“In Paris it seemed I would always be on the outside looking in. No matter how much I wanted the city to embrace me, it would always keep me at arm’s length while wagging a finger in my face. I had rarely fit in–at home, at school, among my peers. But in Paris that feeling of alienation intensified. I didn’t belong there, either” (46).
“I thought of the times I had wandered there alone, feeling lost in thought if not in purpose. I remembered that Paris, on previous trips, had sometimes made me feel alienated, isolated, alone. I felt Victor’s arm around my shoulders, holding me tight. There was a logic to Paris when seen from above, close to the clouds. The streets had an obvious order that made them easy, all of a sudden to navigate. I told Victor we should go back down into the city to explore it for ourselves” (231).
I really recommend this book, especially to those who love armchair travel or memoirs. Kelly’s writing style is fairly straight forward but she writes with such a raw honesty that it was impossible not to feel a connection to her. Due to the span in years this book covers, the growth that Deirdre accomplishes is also easy to feel and recognize. She shows such passion for Paris as a city but also Paris as a feeling and a way of life and I love how varied the city is, like a living organism that is constantly changing and growing and evolving. Just as we all are.
Again, thanks to Eco-Libris for sharing this book with me and allowing me to be apart of their Green Books Campaign.
I am an Amazon Associate. If you purchase Paris Times Eightthrough this review I will receive a small portion of the purchase.