A Paris Year is part of the OMGThereAreSoManyNewParis/FrenchBooksBeingReleasedThisYear extravaganza. I did, ultimately, very much enjoy this book, but I have a lot of problems with it. My main one is that it is not quite what it is described as. Here’s a portion of the description:
“Part memoir and part visual journey through the streets of modern-day Paris, France, A Paris Year chronicles, day by day, one woman’s French sojourn in the world’s most beautiful city.”
Firstly, there are not actually 365 days represented here, Close to it, but there is not an entry for each day. When I realized this I flipped through the book to make sure I didn’t have pages missing.
Secondly, there is not a single entry for each day. Many are, but many span more than one day and they are not necessarily consecutive days. It’s like they picked the order of the entries they wanted, picked the days they wanted represented, and let them fall in the order they were both in. Aside from the days not making sense, I was hoping for separate and (mostly) unique entries for each page. Instead, much of the time one page will be a pretty picture of a store, say a fromagerie, with a blurb about how nice the owner is, and the next page will go into more detail on the owner. Thus dragging this one day into several. I didn’t like that; instead of expecting to leave each thought on the previous page, you had to check to see if it continued or not. One story goes on for 8 pages!
Thirdly, on page 135 “you’re” is used instead of “your.” HELLO, editing! Hire me?
Fourthly (is this a word?), the visuals come as Janice’s illustrations as well as her photographs. Her illustrations are absolutely beautiful and I could stare at them for a large chunk of time each. I’d put up wallpaper with them on it. They’re really wonderful. Her photography…not so much. The photos that were crisp and not blurry were fine, no complaints there because it is Paris after all, but a surprisingly large amount of the photographs were very blurry. In a bad way. I feel that with how beautiful the rest of this book is, the outside included, only the very best photographs should be used.
Fifthly (this was really hard for me to spell), on page 161 there is a picture of the Degas mausoleum (which is in the Montmartre Cemetery) under one of the pages dedicated to Père Lachaise. This is incorrect! And bothersome! !!
These 5 examples made the quality feel like it was put together independently with no professional editing, which is not up to my standards for a $25 book. And it was not published independently, so that reflects poorly on the publishing house in my opinion.
All these irks and errors said, I still did enjoy reading the rest of the book. The above really bothered me though. Aside from the beautiful illustrations, there were two pages that really stuck out to me as my favorites. Page 185, titled “Michel de Montaigne,” is about a writer who died in 1592 and who is “known for legitimizing the essay as a form of literature.” My favorite excerpt from this page is, “In India, people rub the truck [another error I just found! I’m sure this is supposed to be “trunk.” WHO PROOFREAD THIS BOOK?????????] of Ganesh… for good luck. In Rome, people will rub the foot of St. Peter. But in France, they rub the shoe of a writer.” *heart eyes*
On page 194 there is a lovely description about how many chairs you find together in a park and what mix of people was likely to have been there before you.
And I really did love reading about important people and events in French history mentioned.
Up until writing this review and the last paragraph, I was set at rating this book a 3.5 and being generous with a 4 for online purposes. After finding even more errors and proofreading mistakes, I don’t feel good about any higher than a 3. Email me next time and I’ll proofread it for free.
TL;DR Beautiful illustrations, fun facts, horrendous (or no) editing and proofreading was done.