I have a French problem.  I am obsessed with all things French.  The food, the language, the culture, the cafes.  All of it.  So, when Jessica recommended Le Divorce I was super excited.  But when her copy had Kate Hudson & Naomi Watts on the cover, I was concerned.  How good could this book be!?  Turns out, real good.  If your copy has Kate Hudson on the cover, push through it and flip through.  It’s delicious!

ledivorce Flipping Pages: Le Divorce

Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

Isn’t Paris delicious? Let’s go there right now. Zero airfare required. Actually, this novel is more than 10 years old, so you can get a paperback for about the cost of two coffees. Score! (Unfortunately, it might have Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts on the cover, from the film adaptation. I recently watched it again, and I have to say, it’s not as bad as I remember. Hudson is horribly mis-cast, but it’s a Merchant Ivory film…how bad can it really be?)

Le Divorce is about Isabel, an American girl who moves to Paris to help her sister, Roxy, during her pregnancy and through the birth of her second child. When Isabel arrives in the city, she finds that Roxy’s upper-crusty husband’s run out on her and is living with another woman (also married to someone else) . It’s all quite scandalous, as he’s left Roxy pregnant with a toddler in tow. His family knows the whole story and the way they handle things is very French. As in, they act like nothing has happened, more or less. Things start to get a bit prickly when the matter of a divorce is raised, along with the separation of their assets. They have practically nothing, except a painting Roxy took to Paris with her from her parent’s home in Santa Barbara. Questions are raised about the value and authenticity of the painting and both the American and French families become involved in the struggle over this piece of art that Roxy has loved since she was young. Toward the end, the book becomes very suspenseful, which I didn’t expect, but thoroughly enjoyed. Nestled in with all of this intrigue is Isabel’s coming of age. You know the story. American Girl in Paris. Sowing her wild oats…all those cliches. Cliches that are fun to read about, it turns out. She has several affairs (one most notably with a much older man), learns to form an opinion and live on her own, becomes a “citizen of the world”. We see everything through her eyes. Her American, impossibly young and incredibly self-centered eyes. And she’s hilarious. She reminds me of myself around the time I visited Paris for the first time, a 21-year-old who thought she had things figured out, but turned out to know nearly nothing at all. (Here’s a picture of me, chewing gum like a teenager. Sigh.)

Jess 1024x647 Flipping Pages: Le Divorce

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