From Publishers Weekly
In the grand tradition of packing up and moving to Paris in the midst of a major life change, Gershman sets off for the City of Light seeking solace after the death of her husband. The 50-something author of Frommer's Born to Shop series had been to Paris many times and knew a handful of Parisians in the fashion, food and hotel businesses. But she spoke minimal French and was used to having a man handle tasks like changing light bulbs and having furniture delivered. In mini-essays and unadorned prose, Gershman relates her bumbles as she deals with finding an apartment, meeting friends, doing work, dating and, alas, changing light bulbs. The result is a book that's almost as much about learning to live on one's own after the death of a spouse as it is about moving to France. Gershman, who'd previously lived in a quaint southern Connecticut town, marvels over things she deems particularly Frenchal-though they could really happen anywhere. For example, her apartment's cable TV connection works, even though she didn't sign up for the service. Her French friends counsel her not to mention it to the cable company and to enjoy the extra channels. Gershman finds this "cheat-if-you-can" policy uniquely French. She treats other experiences similarly, e.g., going to different vendors for different culinary needs, or being sucked in to buying innovative products you never thought you might need. Nonetheless, Gershman's love for Paris is infectious, and her memoir sheds light on one version of expatriate living.
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After Gershman and her husband had planned a one-year move to Paris, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and died quickly. Gershman decided the best way for her to cope was to go ahead with the move, and, six weeks after her husband's death, she found herself in France. This account of her experience there combines travel-book tips with midlife coming-of-age. Gershman, who works as a professional shopper and writes the Born to Shop travel series, uses her expertise to make the most of trips to flea markets, department stores, and outlet shops. Anyone interested in living in France will file away the tips she dispenses, including where to look for bed linens and what to bring from home. Gershman had some advantages (semifamous friends in France, for example, whose names are dropped frequently), but even so, she displays great tenacity in plunging into a new experience after a tremendous loss (and while learning a new language at age 52). A good choice for the Under the Tuscan Sun
crowd. Beth LeistensniderCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved