One of the many reasons we read fiction is to escape the reality called life. Reading a memoir is like reading fiction for me, as it doesn’t happen to me or anyone I know. For instance, I didn’t realize Memoirs of a Geisha was an actual memoir until I completed it (yeah I kinda missed the point while reading the title) and it did feel like a fiction while reading it. Rarely does a memoir make me feel that the writer did go through these, and they know what they talk about. So when I received Meet Me in Paris from the author I did not expect anything different. So how did it fare on the scale? Read on.
Book Name: Meet Me in Paris
Author: Juliette Sobanet
Characters: Danielle (Juliette), Nick
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the free copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.
This review has been published in the CBC Magazine
The memoir traces about two to three years of the author’s life, who is a successful romance writer, someone in love with Paris. She is married to her high school sweetheart and their marriage is beyond salvage. Despite their love for each other, she feels she is trapped in her marriage and is seeking an escape. That is when Nick enters into her life and shows her what is to be adored and loved in the two days they spend together away from their spouses.
Yes, Nick is married and has no intention to leave his wife, despite their open relationship. Yet for Danielle it is an eye opener, and she finally decides both she and her husband deserve better, they proceed to separate. Danielle travels to the only place that could offer her the solace and the excitement she needed in her life, where Nick travels just to spend two weeks with her. What happens then? Do the star-crossed lovers spend their lives together? Or is Nick just a rebound?
I should start with how amazed I am at the author’s courage to wrote about her personal life, especially one that talks about her separation and an affair with a married man. The memoir talked about the period when she was at her most vulnerable when she was in love with someone who would never leave his wife and she has left her husband, albeit not for her lover. Though I didn’t like Danielle’s nor Nick’s character as a person, I understand that is how life is. There are no black and white squares to peg people in. Her memoir takes us through her heartbreak, divorce, hopelessness, depression and also falling in love, figuring out the future and of course travelling, baring her emotions as it is, it can not get truer than this.
Juliette’s writing shows that she is a seasoned romance novelist. I was resonating with her plight to be stuck in a suffocating loveless marriage and having an affair before and during her separation even though it is such a taboo. I think it was only due to her writing style that she made me empathize with her and even, justify her actions. Her love for Nick and his for her could not have been captured any better. Even the intimate scenes were beautifully written and honest to say the least, (Note: not suited for young audience – PG rated.)
A few days ago, one of my friends was saying (read as complaining) that he dropped a book mid-way as it had too many characters while none of them had impact on the storyline. I was genuinely shocked and kinda miffed as well. But I was able to relate to this emotion when I was reading this one. Wow Juliette, you do have so many friends! While I am happy for you, but after a while, it became hard even to remember anyone at all, and you know what, it still didn’t matter as far as the plot was concerned.
Did I relate to her? No.
Did I like her actions and choices? No.
Did I understand her? Yes, and I think that is where a writer in her shone her best.
And yes there were times that I wanted to throw the book at her, for her choices exasperated me but again, that is people do in real life – mess it up and pick the dust to move on. We all mess up, we all do things that in reflection understand we should not have. But to gather what is left and move ahead to make better choices is what Juliette did. That is what I feel about the memoir, a brave and honest attempt.
If you like Eat, Pray and Love – you might like this.
The plot about discovering oneself through travel post-separation might be vaguely similar, but give it a chance you will find it grow on you.
Have you read Meet me in Paris by Juliette Sobanet? What is your favorite memoir? Do you like memoirs more than fiction? Let us talk.
I once got caught red handed by my Science teacher in my fourth grade for reading Archie’s while she was teaching. (Yea I live on the edge like that.) A friend had brought her book for me to read and I wanted to finish it before the evening. No wonder I stood without feeling guilty and in fact I was proudly standing when she called out me.
Now that I think about it, I realize she didn’t scold or punish me; she just forbade me from reading during class hours. Thanks to teachers like her, my love for reading has not burnt or faded out, like everything else in my life.
You know what, I still am the same, I love Archie’s and I don’t stop reading even when I am reprimanded or scorned upon. Yet, I can’t think of the last time I picked a book and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Thanks to ‘The Devil’s Prayer‘ by Luke Gracias, I stayed awake up to the wee hours to complete this one.What makes a novel un-put-down-able?
Is it the fast-paced and well-knotted plot? Characters that you can relate to or intrigue you? Or crisp and engaging narration and language? Or just the fact that it has the name of an author that you like? Well, I can not hold it anymore. This book has it all, erm, except the last one. I hadn’t heard of Luke Gracias before I picked the book and now I can’t wait for the sequel. Says much about the book and his writing, read on to know more.
Book Name: The Devil’s Prayer
Author: Luke Gracias
Genre: Fiction – Historical Thriller
Characters: Siobhan, Denise, Jess
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author, Netgalley and Writer’s Melon for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story begins with Sister Benedictine’s suicide leaving a group of monks on a trail in Spain. Siobhan watches the story on the television to realize that it was her mother who went missing six years ago.
She begins her journey to the isolated convent her mother seemed to have belonged to in a quest to search answers for her questions. She is tailed by the mysterious monks when she finds her mother’s confession and a mysterious key.
What she learns leaves her confused about her mother’s sanity and makes her start doubting her loyalty to her family. Whom would you choose to believe and trust – your mother who abandoned you six years ago or the person whom you have loved and protected until that moment?
The book takes us through two parallel stories from different realms, her mother’s story leading to the suicide and the daughter who is trying to solve the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance and the subsequent public death.
Denise’s story and her deal with the Devil had me engrossed and sleep defied me until I completed it. Of course, as always I rooted for the so called bad guy, the Devil and was waiting for him to get his share back. There are some graphic scenes of violence, so a word of caution for the faint hearted.
I loved that Lucas’s storyline never dropped its momentum anywhere in the story. But I did find a difference in the writing between Denise’s and Siobhan’s stories, may be it was intentional – or not. The ending seemed to be a little bit hastened and cluttered though that did not affect the reading experience much. I repeat, I can’t wait for the sequel. Even though the book did not leave a cliffhanger, there are too many answered questions.
Do you remember the frenzy that the number ‘666’ created when the Omen came out, or the Mona Lisa garnered with the release of ‘ The Da Vinci Code’ and somehow everyone wanted a piece of Da Vinci’s history? That is how I felt about Genghis Khan and the solar eclipses.
You might find the plots to be quite similar, an untimely death, followed by a family member frantically trying to make something sense out of the death and unraveling of the mysteries related to the religious cults supported by history and fiction. It is the execution that makes all the difference.
If you like historical fiction/thriller, grab The Devil’s Prayer already.
My countdown of the number of days for summer holidays to begin starts right from the day our school reopens. I guess every Indian child would have done this. Summer vacations are all we wait for. For me, summer reminds me of the lazy afternoons with no fixed schedule. One day could be playing in the streets with friends without even realizing that the sun usually works at his best or just wondering what snack my Paati (grandmom) was going to make that evening.