Book Review - We’ll Always Have Paris

by Emma Beddington (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781447285793 

This is a memoir by lawyer-turned-writer, Emma Beddington. As an adolescent, she decides to Become French and so immerses herself in French culture, relationships and France. She grows up, inevitably life happens, and she begins questioning if the French fantasy matches reality. Ultimately she is seeking “home” and this memoir reveals her life’s purpose. 

Beddingon is deservedly an award-winning writer. She makes exceptional use of the English language; her writing is witty and funny. She provides fascinating insights into English, French and Belgian culture and her observation that she is “less herself” when she speaks a second language was thought-provoking. 

However, I’m ambivalent about this book. A memoir by design must narrate one individual’s story: This memoir reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love – which I abandoned halfway because I found it self-indulgent. I wanted to find out where Beddington ended up, but I often returned to this memoir reluctantly. 

We’ll Always Have Paris felt occasionally like listening to that one friend who dominates the girls’ lunch with tribulations that afflict us all. Beddington’s experiences are not unique, but interesting because they happen “abroad”. The memoir reads like a well-edited personal diary and this is possibly its shortfall – or its appeal. 

Deborah Minors

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.