Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down

Rosecrans Baldwin (You Lost Me There) has been "anaphylactic for France" since childhood. The mere thought of France's ancient buildings, its endless cafes or the sea of faces in the Metro stations give him an immediate shortness of breath and tightness in a chest that's about to explode for joy. If Baldwin had a textspeak abbreviation for his Francophilia, it would read OMG PARIS.

Until he moves there, anyway.

In pursuit of their dream to live abroad, Baldwin and his wife settle into the city to work on their personal creative projects--Baldwin's first novel and Rachel's screenplay--and he takes a job as a copywriter at a French ad agency. Before long, though, anaphylactic Francophilia gives way to the realities of living as American expats, from speaking the language (tricky) to finding a credit card (impossible) to navigating the government bureaucracy (life sentence). The city still has its beautiful moments, but these are not just fantasies from afar; Baldwin's French realities are more vivid, fascinating and funny than any version of Paris sold on this side of the Atlantic.

Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down follows in the humorous memoir tradition of David Sedaris and Wade Rouse, but its honest, no-longer-breathless portrayals of American expatriate life ally it with works like Naturi Thomas's How to Die in Paris as well. Baldwin's book puts a lot of French fantasies to rest--and replaces them with realities worthy of true love. --Dani Alexis Ryskamp, blogger at The Book Cricket

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