Title: Paris Letters
Author: Janice Macleod
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: Although this story was lighter and more happily-ever-after than I expected a memoir to be, I ended up enjoying it for what it is – the non-fiction version of chick-lit.
Janice Macleod is tired of her life. Although she has achieved success at her dream job as an advertising executive, she feels personally and professionally unfulfilled. A chance conversation leads her to the realization that simply saving $100/day could buy her a year of freedom in Europe. After saving and selling to make her dream come true, she finally moves to France where she begins to piece together the life she didn’t know she was looking for.
As I mentioned in review earlier this week, I don’t especially like dark, gritty books. However, when I pick up a memoir, I do typically like to read about someone overcoming challenges. Think MWF Seeking BFF
(trying to make friends), Some Nerve (overcoming your fears), The Happiness Project (trying to make yourself happier on a daily basis), or The Saturday Night Widows (moving on after grieving). Now, I wouldn’t say that Janice faces no challenges. Having the self-discipline to save money, the courage to quit her job, and the self-awareness to realize that her life in Paris is what she wants is no small accomplishment. However, in the book, she portrays it that way. She talks very little about the tough times or the decision making process. It comes across as though everything just falls into place.
At first, the portrayal of everything as easy bothered me. It made the book less inspiring and impressive than other memoirs. However, once I realized that this was basically non-fiction chick-lit, I started to warm up to it. Janice’s writing is beautiful, as are the painted letters she sold on Etsy and includes in her book. Her story was happy and heartwarming. Plus, like all great narrative non-fiction, it was just as riveting as the fiction version and had the added awesomeness of being a true story. All in all, I’m glad non-fiction has its sappy, fun, light, heartwarming romances too. As long as you go into this with the right expectations, I think it’s a great book.