Petite Anglaise – Catherine Sanderson

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Living in Paris with her partner, the workaholic Mr Frog, and their adorable toddler, Tadpole, Catherine decides to alleviate the boredom of her metro-boulot-dodo routine by starting a blog under the name of Petite Anglaise. Writing with disarming honesty about Paris life, about the confines of her hollow relationship with Mr Frog and about the wonder and pain that comes with being a mother, she finds a new purpose to her day. As Petite Anglaise, Catherine regains her confidence and makes virtual friends, including one charismatic and single Englishman who lives in Brittany, James. And after meeting James one evening in a bar, Catherine feels she has regained her ability to fall in love, too.

My review

This was a nice, quick and easy read. I particularly enjoyed the style of writing and the setting. I loved the details of Paris and the French language used. It was lovely to escape to Paris for a time. What a beautiful city! I enjoyed learning some of the language too.

This true story revolves around Catherine, who lives in Paris with her partner, who she refers to as Mr Frog and her young daughter, Tadpole. Catherine is unhappy in her relationship and struggles, as a new mum, to find time for herself. I found it challenging to connect with Catherine at times, as I felt that her interest in her own love life often took over in this memoir. I enjoyed reading the sections where Mr Frog and Tadpole’s relationship strengthens and when Catherine notices those beautiful moments of motherhood. I found myself wanting to read more of those moments. Her feelings seemed very different to those I have felt as a new mum, so I would keep reminding myself that reading about a character who is walking a different path to mine is often a good way to understand others. Life would be boring if we were all the same.

I liked that the memoir is honest and the fact that the blog is still able to be located and Catherine has a wonderful online profile, providing further insight into her world. In the novel, Catherine starts a blog and begins to write her thoughts, feelings and problems online for the world to see, becoming an online celebrity in the blogging world. The need for balance between the online world and real life is a constant battle for most people these days. This book emphasises the challenges and benefits of technology. As someone who is fairly new to blogging, I could relate to the interest in readers comments, although this book made me feel at peace with what I write online. I enjoy having a private life. I don’t want anyone else weighing in on my personal world, as Catherine would at times. What I enjoy about blogging is the connection with like minded people, the fun I have when writing book reviews and even at times inspiring others to read. Catherine also enjoyed that connection with like-minded people.

Overall, I didn’t particularly like some of the decisions made by the main character and felt a disconnect at times, however I admire the courage taken to write this story and appreciate how well written it is. If you’re looking to read an honest memoir set in Paris, this one is for you.


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