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Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down (edition 2012)

by Rosecrans Baldwin

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1155104,954 (3.62)1
Member:pbirch01
Title:Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down
Authors:Rosecrans Baldwin
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin

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Guy moves with his girlfriend to Paris. He loves it there, meets people, lives a normal life. Not a literary masterpiece but I liked the book. ( )
  pdepena | Jul 25, 2014 |
This is a book about Paris and being a fish out of water. Baldwin's insights on the latter - (the difficulties with language etc...) are entertaining and universal. His observations on Parisian life are fresh and incisive. They neither descend into cliche nor over-correct by focusing on the banal. Instead he offers a cast of tightly observed characters from his working and social life in the city. The book frequently prompts a delicious hilarity - especially when Baldwin deploys his trick of translating directly, and without warning, from his poor French back into the actual English. The work made me feel good about Paris and about life in general. ( )
  freelancer_frank | Mar 27, 2013 |
Rosencrans Baldwin has loved Paris since he was a little boy and when he is given an opportunity to move to Paris and work there, he is jubilant. Reality of life in Paris sets in quickly, unfortunately, and he finds he doesn’t know as much French as he thought he did, his apartment is a loud construction zone, and Parisian government workers and business owners can be intimidating.

Fortunately for all of us who are secretly rooting for Paris, Baldwin perseveres and his Love for Paris (I’m not really giving anything away if you know anything about Paris) wins out.

Baldwin writes well (something that is not always true of people who write Paris Stories) so that gives Paris I Love You additional points. ( )
  debnance | Aug 12, 2012 |
An American in Paris today. ( )
  triscuit | Aug 7, 2012 |
In many ways this book is a welcome corrective to the current rash of books insisting that the French (like the annoying character in Nicole Hollander's comic strip "Sylvia" ) Do Everything More Beautifully Than You. It turns out, for example, that Rosecrans Baldwin's co-workers at a Paris advertising agency are wont to lunch on McDonald's takeout (albeit in quintessentially French style, starting with a "first course" of chicken nuggets and moving through a burger entree to a salad course and then dessert). And Baldwin's descriptions of tangling with French bureaucracy make the reader want to weep with sympathetic frustration. For the most part, however, I did not find his insights all that illuminating, and his noble attempts to avoid romantic cliche and find fresh descriptive language for the city that has fascinated him since early youth frequently result in comparisons that are obscure at best and at worst just off-putting, such as this description of the city's arrangement into arrondissements:

"Paris's neighborhoods are organized like a twist. They spiral from the river like toilet water flushing in reverse and erupting out of the bowl...."

In some places Baldwin also seems to have been ill-served by his editor and/or proofreaders, such as when he writes about focusing on his "annunciation" rather than on his "enunciation." (To be clear, this is not an amusing cross-cultural slip of the tongue. It is a straightforward vocabulary error in English.)

Overall, I would say about this book the same thing Baldwin tactfully says to a Paris real-estate agent about an apartment decorated in a style not to his taste, "Ce n'est pas terrible." ( )
2 vote booksinthebelfrey | Jun 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374146683, Hardcover)

A self-described Francophile from when he was little, Rosecrans Baldwin always dreamed of living in Paris—drinking le café, eating les croissants, walking in les jardins—so when an opportunity presented itself to work for an advertising agency in Paris, he couldn’t turn it down. Despite the fact that he had no experience in advertising. And despite the fact that he barely spoke French. After an unimaginable amount of red tape and bureaucracy, Rosecrans and his wife packed up their Brooklyn apartment and left the Big Apple for the City of Light. But when they arrived, things were not eactly what Rosecrans remembered from a family vacation when he was nine years old.

Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down is a nimble comic account of observing the French capital from the inside out. It is an exploration of the Paris of Sarkozy, text-message romances, smoking bans, and a McDonald’s beneath the Louvre—the story of an American who arrives loving Paris all out of proportion, but finds life there to be completely unlike what he expected. Over eighteen months, Rosecrans must rely on his dogged American optimism to get him through some very unromantic situations—at work (writing booklets on how to breast-feed, raise, and nurture children), at home (trying to finish writing his first novel in an apartment surrounded on all sides by construction workers), and at every confusing French dinner party in between. An offbeat update to the expat canon, Paris, I Love You is a book about a young man finding his preconceptions replaced by the oddities of a vigorous, nervy city—which is just what he needs to fall in love with Paris for the second time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:29 -0400)

An account of a Francophile's haphazard relocation to Paris in spite of his lack of French fluency describes how the region considerably differed from his expectations and the ways in which he overcame cultural challenges.

(summary from another edition)

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