Review & Interview: 'Confessions of a Paris Party Girl' by Vicki Lesage (2014)
Wine, romance, and French bureaucracy - the ups and downs of an American's life in Paris. This laugh-out-loud memoir is almost too funny to be true!
Drinking too much bubbly. Meeting sappy Frenchmen who have girlfriends or are creeps or both. Encountering problème after problème with French bureaucracy. When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to taste wine, stuff her face with croissants, and maybe fall in love.
In her first book, this long-time blogger and semi-professional drinker recounts the ups and downs of her life in Paris. Full of sass, shamefully honest admissions, and situations that seem too absurd to be true, Vicki makes you feel as if you're stumbling along the cobblestones with her.
Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will the French administration ever cut her a break?
I’m not the biggest fan of France. I don’t know what it is exactly, but my experiences with both the country itself and French people just haven’t been too positive. Yet, I have to admit I do have a bit of a soft spot for Paris, because in all honesty, who doesn’t love Paris (or at least certain parts of it), right? I’ve read some wonderful books set in Paris over the years, so when I received an e-mail from author Vicki Lesage about possibly reviewing her novel, ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ I was looking forward to reading another story set in the city of love. The lovely Vicki also took the time to answer some questions about her book and writing career, so be sure to scroll down to read an interview with her!
Vicki is an American twenty-something who after losing her job decides to pack her bags and move to Paris for an unforeseeable time. With the money she earns with her work as a freelance web designer, Vicki can afford a small apartment and is ready to throw herself into the Parisian night life (which of course includes lots of wine in all forms!). The reader is taken along on Vicki’s Paris adventure, which consists of numerous hilarious situations, a large amount of complaining about France, but also her transformation from an American in Paris to a true Parisian who happens to be from America.
‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ is a collection of Vicki Lesage’s stories of her time living in Paris, which started out as blog posts. I’m personally not a big fan of memoirs, but I really enjoyed reading about Vicki’s experiences in France. The book felt more like I was chatting to a friend who was telling me all about her adventures in Paris; stories which made me both shake my head in amazement and laugh out loud. I think it’s great how Vicki managed to convey this particular feeling into words and it’s definitely one of the strengths of this memoir. The fact that all of it is based on real-life experiences also gives it a realistic feel, because it gives a true account of what life in Paris as an expat is like.
I love how, as the book progresses, you can really see Vicki grow as a person and experience how her initial plan of going to Paris for a few months turns into a stay that lasts for much longer. I am sure people who love to travel and/or read about other cities and cultures will really enjoy this because of its distinctive voice and entertaining stories. ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ is a fun, light and quick-paced memoir, and I already look forward to reading the sequel, ‘Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer’!
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Author Interview with Vicki Lesage
Can you tell us something about your book, ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’?
Confessions of a Paris Party Girl takes the reader on a journey from my first confused days in Paris, through some crazy years of partying and unbelievable bouts with French bureaucracy, and ends up with me finding a life for myself in France. Much to my mom’s relief, I do finally settle down (a bit).
The book is based on your own personal experiences. Why did you decide to move to Paris and start blogging about your adventures?
After losing my job and running into my ex-boyfriend seemingly everywhere around town, I decided I needed a change of scenery from my Midwestern town. I’d always loved Europe and figured, why not go to Paris? I blogged about my adventures to keep my family back home in the loop, but the blog kind of evolved into a “What did I miss in Paris last night?” update for other people on my bar circuit. Because, you know, it’s really important to know what so-and-so said at such-and-such bar!
Is everything in the book based on your own true experiences or is there also a part fiction?
It’s all true! A few names have been changed and some storylines have been combined for simplicity’s sake (like, maybe a particular conversation was actually two separate conversations on two separate days) but the gist is the same. And in fact, much of the dialogue is actually what people said. Like the florist who wouldn’t let me order my wedding flowers more than a week in advance literally said “I could be dead by then!” (in French). I remember things like that word for word because they’re so unreal!
If you had to pick three things you like the most about Paris, what would they be?
The unique charm of walking down a characteristic Parisian street, the insanely affordable prices of wine, cheese, and baguettes, and running into people you know on the streets – reminding you that Paris is just a big small city.
And the three things you dislike the most about the city of love?
Only three? Just kidding. I dislike the ever-present smell of human urine and dog poop, rude taxi drivers, and the sheer quantity of people who walk around with frowns on their faces (though with the offensive odors and even more offensive taxi drivers, I guess I can’t entirely blame them)!
Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next book?
My sequel, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, is due out this month. It picks up where Party Girl left off and covers my life as a mom in Paris. If you thought my partying days were crazy, wait until you see what it’s like raising kids! I also have plans for a few more books in the series, with stories about my travels around Europe and even juicer confessions that didn’t make it into the first two books. Stay tuned!
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write a little every day. Eventually you’ll finish your book! Even one page will get you that much closer. Then when it’s time to publish (either traditionally or self-publishing), edit the heck out of your work and have others give feedback as well. Proper editing turns good work into great work, work you’re proud of that gets rave reviews!
What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
I loved Build-A-Man by Talli Roland. It’s the first book I read by her and now I’m hooked on all her books. She writes fun chick lit that never disappoints.
Which book could you not live without?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My son likes me to read it to him at least 10 times a day. It’s our special time together and even though I’ve read it so many times I have it memorized, I still love it.
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ in just three words, which words would you pick?