This blog-turned-book shares the lessons that Ms. Scott learned while living as an exchange student in Paris. Between Madame Chic (the matriarch of her host family) and Madame Bohemienne (from her boyfriend’s host family), Scott dissects all the tidbits she has learned from one’s exercise, diet, fashion and attitude.
There are plenty of books out there that embark on sharing the “insider” knowledge of how to live a Parisian lifestyle. Lessons from Madame Chic is the first of this kind that I’ve picked up and I’m sad to admit that it wasn’t for me. I certainly won’t begrudge all books of this topic, but I couldn’t connect with the author whatsoever in this. Her lessons were broken out in chapters, each section would talk about her experience with either Madame Chic or Bohemienne, and then ends the chapter with a recap on an already fairly short chapter. It felt so completely repetitive and redundant to me. The “lessons” are not long in explanation nor hard to comprehend so the recap is really unnecessary.
I did enjoy parts of the fashion section, especially the push to declutter the closet. I am guilty of keeping things far longer than necessary, even without wearing them for seasons so it motivated me a little bit to do a bit of spring cleaning. That being said, the parts that Scott could have elaborated on, she didn’t. She talks about a 10-piece wardrobe, but doesn’t really go too much into it with relevant helpful info – however she dedicates numerous pages to different variations of doing your make-up from a more au naturel look to a 2-, 5-10, or 15-minute look. In a blog? This would work with the tutorials, but in a book this was so monotonous. I also think she might need to find a new word for older women, as “women of a certain age” being used constantly – sometimes within sentences of each other – is extremely irritating to read and totally repetitive.
There was a lot of potential with this book, because surely living with a host family in the iconic city of Paris would garner some great experiences, but I personally don’t believe it was executed properly in this particular format or voice. So much repetition made it feel like fluff and filler, hiding the actual good nuggets of information. True, there were some sections that I found interesting and I’d have gladly read more about the arts, entertaining/being a hostess, and one’s shopping habits. Perhaps others who may not be as familiar with the Parisian way of life will find this book a lot more informative and handy than I did. I’m by no means an expert, but because I’m so obsessed with Paris and having read many books set in this city that it just didn’t appeal to me as much.