by Janice Macleod
Paris Letters was a beautiful, quick little read and I loved every second of it! I don’t remember how this got on my list, but presumably it was because I’m drawn to anything French! I also love anything on the topic of decluttering and following your dreams . . .both of which were a part of Macleod’s story. Janice is a copywriter at an ad agency where she is unhappy. She begins to journal for a year as a New Year’s resolution, but finds that writing helps her see clearly and make decisions. Through this she determines that it’s time to leave her job, so she begins decluttering and selling her possessions and saving money so she can live for a year without working. Before long, she has sold all but the absolute necessities and travels to Europe, beginning and ending in Paris. It’s through this trip that she finds herself, as well as love and a vocation. I find her story moving in part because she is simply inspiring and also because she is so down to earth. It’s inspiring to read about someone who is unhappy, but decides to do something about it, rather than just accept being unhappy. It’s courageous. I also love how real Janice is – she is very relatable and is also realistic and responsible (like when she saves her money initially or when she needs to start earning money again) – it makes you think that you could do it to. And that is what I most loved about reading Janice’s story of her life so far: she welcomes you into her life and makes you believe that you can find yourself, and therefore happiness too!
Summing it up: I absolutely recommend this book! It was a delight to read.
All the best, Abbey
The Aviator’s Wife
by Melanie Benjamin
The Aviator’s Wife is this month’s pick for my library’s monthly book group. I’m actually free this time, so I decided to give it a try! For a while I turned my nose down on historical fiction novels (the genre of The Aviator’s Wife). I was a history major in college and obsessed with historical accuracy. I didn’t like the concept of taking real people and writing from their perspective, since it wasn’t their real words/feelings. However, I realized that it was not bothering me this time around. I actually really enjoyed the novel quite a bit. I new very little about the Lindberghs, and nothing about Anne. From a historical perspective, I loved reading about their lives and the impact they had on the world. I found it fascinating Benjamin’s goal to write history through an emotional perspective. I haven’t thought of historical fictions in that light before, but I admit that it is an enjoyable and moving way to learn about history. I did find the story itself very sad. I had no idea this family who had such an impact on the world could have so much tragedy in their lives, especially with the press/public: heartbreaking. I had to skim most of the section on the kidnapping. I was particularly moved by Anne’s personal journey. I admire her strength to grow from being hopelessly dependent; to being strong, independent, and capable of raising a family on her own. I have been on a similar journey myself, so it’s inspiring to read about another woman who learned to believe in herself and prove that she is both strong and capable. I especially love this excerpt from Anne’s perspective:
“Mother shook her head impatiently . . . ‘You’re . . . not weak.’ I remembered those words. I knew they were true . . . I brought them out every now and then, as I kept working . . . on my definition of my marriage . . . a marriage of two equals. With separate — but equally valid — views of the world; shared goggles no more, but looking at the same scenery, at the same time.”
This is a lovely way to describe a strong marriage, which is what I’m working towards. I think Anne’s journey is what I enjoyed most about this book. I also enjoyed Benjamin’s writing style. Sometimes I felt that she elaborated a little too much or repeated herself unnecessarily at times while describing someone’s character, or their feelings, etc. But that’s my only criticism, on an otherwise excellent book.
Summing it up: This was a great book, especially for someone interested in the Lindberghs and who doesn’t mind historical fiction. 😉 I recommend it.
All the best, Abbey