“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Robyn Sisman / Paperback / 336 Pages / Book is published 2004-02 by Plume Books „
As far as I can remember I haven't read any other books by this author but I have began to tire of some of my usual favourite authors (naming no names) as I've found that their books can become somewhat predictable and repetitive after a while so when I saw this in my local charity shop I decided, like the character in this book, it was time for a change.
DULL - that's the word to describe Molly Clearwater, the main character in this book, and BORING - that's the word to describe her life. In all her twenty one years she has never been anywhere or done anything exciting, but now, thanks to a few simple words from her sexist pig of a boss, who called her 'some stupid secretary' she decided that it was about time to do something different with her life!!!
Impulsively heading to Paris, Molly become a different person, shedding her inhibitions and living life to the full for the weekend (or are we about to see some more permanent changes in Molly Clearwater). Its like a new world to her and she finds herself on not only a journey to Paris but also a journey of self discovery, doing things she never thought she'd do, meeting new people and experiencing things she'd never even dreamt of.
The story follows the highs and lows of Molly's weekend and could possibly be one of the most defining times of her life so far!!!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
I bought this like most of my books in a charity shop for £1.99 but it is also currently available in Tesco and WH Smith for £6.39 or for various different new and used prices starting at 1 pence plus delivery from Amazon.
I find myself with slightly mixed feeling having just finished this book, but definitely thing any negative view I have are outweighed by the positive ones.
I love the author's way of describing Molly's sights and surroundings in so much detail especially when she is in Paris, The way she describe everything even down to the sounds and smells really brought the images to life in my head as I was reading the book. Similarly the way she tells us Molly's thoughts and feelings I really felt like I got to know her, to recognise her insecurities and to even identify with some of them. I found Molly to be a good strong character who differs from the other characters, especially those she meets in France and the writer humorously depicts the differences between the characters and the values between the different nationalities.
While Molly was at a potentially life changing point for her, the book didn't get too serious and the humorous tones kept the book light-hearted and made it a nice easy read. Despite this there is a more serious aspect to the book when we are given an insight into Molly's childhood and family history which gave me a better understanding of her character and why she is the way she is, it also gives the book an interesting sub-plot which adds some unexpected twists.
Now I said earlier on that I liked more about this book than I disliked and now I'm actually putting it into words I've realised that this is even more true than I thought. In actual fact my only criticism would be that some parts where a little far fetched, Molly is naive to the point of unbelievable and the changes in her a perhaps a little drastic, I just couldn't see her doing some of the things she does and found it quite unbelievable how quickly she met people and made friends. Reading this back to myself now I am thinking that the book is called 'weekend in Paris' so really if she hadn't done it all in a weekend there would be no story and I feel I am being over picky in my criticisms as it is partly its 'over-the top-ness' which creates the humour in this book and makes it such good reading. I particularly liked the fact that the ending isn't stereotypical 'chik lit' style although I won't elaborate and spoil it for anyone who may read it in the future.
I can now honestly say I did really enjoy this book and would recommend it to others, I personally will definitely be looking out for more titles from this author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robyn Sisman is married to Biographer Adam Sisman and lives in Bath. She was born in L.A. and prior to becoming a best selling novelist she worked as an Au Pair, an English teacher in Ethiopia and a secretary in publishing.
Her other novels include; Perfect Strangers (1995), Summer in the city (2005) and A Hollywood Ending (2008).
Yet again, I've been enticed by a mention of the city of Paris in the title of a book. I've never heard of Robyn Sisman before, despite a fondness for 'chick-lit' novels, but the promise of Paris and the 'top ten bestseller' claim, drew me in.
Robyn Sisman, according to an interview on publisher Penguin Books' website, has led a somewhat colourful and well-travelled life. She was born in Los Angeles, where her grandparents lead the Hollywood high life as an actress and playwright, respectively. Her early memories include heading to the premier of 'Gone With The Wind' clinging on to Charlie Chaplin's arm (the actual Charlie Chaplin and not some stuffed animal that she named after him, I hasten to add!)
After a childhood spent moving from country to country and school to school, she finally settled in England and became the Managing Director of Random House. However this security was soon thrown into disarray, as she was made redundant when she was seven months pregnant. In her own words, 'desperation was the mother of invention, and in between nappy-changing and clocking in at the Job Centre I began to draft the story that became Special Relationship.'
The book was a huge success and Sisman has since gone on to write three more Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, the third of which I am reviewing here.
Weekend in Paris is the story of a 21 year old secretary, Molly Clearwater, from a small town in rural England, who heads to London to make her mark on the world. AS is generally the case in these kind of stories, the dream is far better than the reality and in Molly's case, this is no exception. She settles into a job as a secretary for the boss from hell and continually wonders whether or not she's made the right decision in leaving home.
Things start to look up though when her boss tells her he is going to take her on a business trip to Paris. Molly is understandably excited and can't wait to go, until she finds out that the reason her boss wants to take her is so that he can have his wicked way with her. They have an argument and Molly resigns, but not before her boss offers the stinging accusation that she is just a secretary.
It's this accusation that leads Molly to head to Paris alone, the first time she has ever left the British Isles. As the title suggests, a 'weekend in Paris' ensues, with Molly getting up to all kinds of mischief and meeting people who change her entire outlook on life in just a few short hours.
Sisman paints a picture of Paris that you can't help falling in love with. Her ability to set the scene and describe the people has you almost believing you are right there in the city of romance, being able to smell the croissants being made in the bakery and hearing the rushing waters of the Seine as the heroine of the tale walks along its banks.
I found that the characters are well written as well - you warm to Molly immediately, almost as immediately as you dislike her boss. Whilst some of the characters are somewhat exaggerated, I didn't feel as though any of them were unbelievable. Take Molly's first acquaintance in a Paris youth hostel for instance, a young, larger than life and very stereotypical Australian girl. Rather than cringe at the stereotyping, you are able to smile at the familiarity and warmth of the character.
Sisman's writing style is easy to read and flowing, pretty much what you'd expect from this kind of book. It's never going to win any serious literary awards, but it is fun to read and is enjoyable piece of escapism. If the chick-lit genre is your cup of tea, then I would definitely recommend this book, as it has it all - handsome French men, quirky friendships and the all important happy ending (that was reached despite all manner of obstacles, of course!). I think it'd be a great holiday read and especially good to read if you are thinking of going to Paris!
Format : Paperback
Size : 129 x 198mm
Pages : 400
Published : 30 Dec 2004
Publisher : Penguin