Sunday, April 13, 2014

{Book Review} Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

source: Goodreads

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

by Amy Thomas

First Published: February 1, 2012
Pages: 304

ISBN: 978-1402264115

Dates Read: March 15-April 9, 2014

Reading Challenges this book is part of: 
- 2014 Books on France
- 2014 Foodies Read
- 2014 Non-Fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

Other works by this author:
  • The Detective and the Woman
  • The Detective, the Woman, and the Winking Tree

Further Information:

My thoughts on the book:

This was a book that I really wanted to love but at best I can say I only really liked it, and only some of the parts.

I just love all things French, especially Parisian, and really enjoy books that remind me of the times I have spent in Paris by mentioning particular places or streets. This book did all that for me so definitely a plus for the book in this regard.

Each chapter was basically divided into one part being the author's personal story of being an American working in France, trying to learn and fit in with the culture, and searching for a little love along the way. I really liked this half of each chapter, especially since I've always wanted to do as this author has done and spend a year or two in Paris. It gave me a great peek into that world.

The other half of the chapter was descriptions of all the pastries, macarons, cupcakes, and all other manner of French and New York sweets and treats that she discovered in her time abroad. She did a really good job of relating particular deserts or cookies to the things she was going through in her life but, admittedly, I really started just skimming through these bits of the chapters about midway through the book. Not to say they weren't written well but reading about pastries just isn't my cup of tea I guess.

I did find myself highlighting several passages that struck me as I went along, either because I saw myself in them, or I just liked her honesty or positive attitude.

"And if I learned anything in that long, dark winter in Paris it's that sometimes if you change your attitude, life follows your lead" ~pg 184

How true. Sometimes we can all use that reminder if life seems to be kicking us while we're down.

"The curse of being an expat, I realized, is that you belong to two cities and, as a result, neither entirely. I had been asking myself either-or questions, but the answers were not black and white but a million shades of Parisian gray." ~ pg 254

As an expat myself and one that plans to move to a third country in a few years I have definitely thought about this myself. Am I still Canadian? I certainly call myself one but have I lived so long in the United States now that I'm seen as American to some people? I have spent most of my adult life in the US so if I moved back to Canada I would have to learn many "adult" things (e.g. getting a mortgage etc.) all over again and would be almost like a foreigner in that regard. So which place do I really belong? Not that these questions keep me up at night but have certainly gone through my mind a time or two.

So while I can't give glowing reviews to this book, as I did skim through many bits of it, I can say the parts that interested me were enjoyable to read. If you like reading about food and which patisseries have the best sweets or croissants you'd probably enjoy the whole book.


  1. Sorry you didn't like the book as much as you wanted to! Thanks for liking to the Foodies Read Challenge!!
    BTW: I used to shorten your link so it comes directly to this page.

    1. Oh no worries, they can't call be favourite books. :-) Thanks for changing my link too and letting me know about I've never heard of it so will add that to my list of blogging tools. It'll come in handy for sure.

  2. Hi Stacey, nice to find your blog. I read this book last year before a trip to Paris. I liked the food suggestions more than the expat tales. I found 9/10 of her top 10 on my last trip to find that we have different tastes- which is fine, it was a fun quest still.

    1. Thank you Louise! I just started it (as I'm sure you can tell) so it has a long way to go yet. :-) I also checked out your blog and really enjoyed your comparisons with the author's for all those delicious looking treats. You know I haven't had any of the top 10 (not even a crepe!) but now I want to do the same as you did and give them each a taste. Especially that Plenitude Individuel goodness that looks heavenly.
      Did a little reading around your blog too and will be visiting again for sure to see what other books about Paris you recommend. "The Sweet Life in Paris" that you just posted about is on my list already- just waiting for my turn to come up in queue at my library.
      Happy Reading!