Well hm. I didn’t really like this one.
Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson has all the trappings of a book I should like – based on a successful blog (http://petiteanglaise.com), chic English-speaking woman moves to France, etc. But unlike the books I read when I was in my full-blown Francophile phase last fall (French Women Don’t Get Fat and Bringing Up Bebe. Don’t ask me why I read either of these while staying at my friend Amy’s house last fall. I neither need to go on a diet nor am I rearing a child), this one left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Why? It’s about a woman who starts to feel disconnected from her long-term partner (who she has a young child with) and then, instead of communicating with him like a normal person, TAKES TO THE INTERNET to blog about her loneliness and relationship woes, and eventually meets another guy, with whom she has an affair. As a former colleague of mine would say, what the actual?
Affairs bother me so much at the best of times (I speak from zero personal experience here, I just think that it’s the ultimate betrayal and I’d prefer to believe in true, Disney-style love. Call my glasses rose-tinted and my outlook idyllic, but for goodness’ sake, if there’s something going wrong in your relationship, there are lots of other things to do besides have an affair), but Petite Anglaise’s affair seemed like a bit of an overreaction to her situation. For example, if it really wasn’t working out, Petite Anglaise could have MADE A CLEAN BREAK, sparing her partner and her daughter (who is surely going to grow up and Google her mom at some point) considerable embarrassment and anguish. Or she could have SHUT UP ABOUT HER LONELINESS AND MARITAL PROBLEMS ON THE INTERNET ALREADY. In the end, her blog ended up costing her a relationship as well as her job.
(In case you are wondering, this is why this blog is primarily about books. The people in my day-to-day life don’t need me dragging their names – even as pseudonyms – through my judgemental insecurity and loneliness in the style of Petite Anglaise. Blogging like that just sort of seems like a desperate cry for attention, which is not really the way I roll. And I’d like to think that if I were to meet a nice guy and start dating him, he’d never, ever be worried about what I might write about him on the internet. Because really, that’s just not cool.)
I read Petite Anglaise because it was facing out on a shelf at the library and it was about an English-speaking expat who moved to France. But I’m not sure it’s a memoir I’d recommend. It made me feel disheartened about love, and that’s never a nice emotion for an author to leave you with. I’m glad I read it at the library and didn’t fork over any money for it, because I was disappointed in her.