Dialect Magazine

Book Review | The Paris Diaries by Andrea Bouchaud

ParisDiariesPicture being a 20-year-old college student who is eager to taste life. Will it be bitter? Will it be sweet? Who knows? The only thing on your mind is that you can’t wait to do it on your own; without parents, rules, or headaches. Seems like a piece of cake, right? While you’ve gotten your feet wet with attending college, you feel the need to test the waters and study abroad. Now this is the definition of living! That’s exactly what Andrea Bouchaud thought.

A young American girl, Miss Bouchaud, had the desire to discover her French heritage. With this in mind, she set out to explore the Paris. Although it seems normal to assume the opposite, the “City of Love” was not her first choice. She had visited the city once before during her high school years and wanted to explore somewhere else. Instead she chose Paris, once again.

The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored is the memoir of Bouchaud studying abroad at the Sorbonne for one academic year. Having studied french for 8 years, she believed that she was prepared for the life of wonder that awaited her in Paris. She quickly learned how inadequate cultural and linguistic preparations can promote impractical conjectures of a foreign country.

Throughout her story, Bouchaud chronicles the highs and lows of her journey as she channels tests of both faith and strength, while dealing with loneliness, boredom, homesickness, and struggling to properly speak the language.

Who would think that visiting the most romantic city in the world could lead to periods of depression, feeling worthless, and missing your old lifestyle? Not many.

For an experience that she had anticipated for an eternity, to result in being less than perfect and not at all what she thought it would be, is mind-boggling. In retrospect, it’s just one of life’s countless misconceptions.

In the Paris Diaries, Bouchaud brings to light how insufficient preparations can foster unrealistic expectations of any different country. She points out the assumptions and delusions that can easily cloud judgment if one closes their eyes to the things that they don’t want to see. Thought provoking – indeed.

The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored (($3.99, e-book) will be available on Amazon’s Kindle store. For more information visit www.twentyinparis.net


~Article/Review by Ashly Smith

Ashly is a freelance writer and poet from Baltimore, MD.

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