In this lovely highhearted look at growing up, Catherine Bateson has used the wonderfully romantic backdrop of Paris, a place all artists, would be artist and romantics wish to go at some time in their life.
To paint on the banks of the Seine, to visit the Galleries, drink the wine and simply absorb the atmosphere is what living life is all about, and when eighteen year old Lisette arrives in Paris, she is determined to break away from her life as Lisette and become Lise, but soon discovers that this may be a little harder to do than she first thought.
Arriving in totally the wrong clothes for a summer in Paris, then having to find her way to her landladies house, follow a street map in French, cope with cobbled streets and a suitcase on wheels, was perhaps a little more daunting that she had allowed for when she set off from Melbourne, was it only yesterday!.
But her first site of Paris proper and Notre-Dame had her pinching herself, trying to believe she really was here; the place dreams are made of, the fashion houses of the world lived and people had that certain something in simply they was they talked.
Meeting Madame Christophe, owner of the occult shop La Libraire Occulte, her mother’s clairvoyant and now her landlady, for the first time, bought reality into focus, as this woman was a woman of style, chic and smelling of expensive French perfume, nothing like she had expected.
Over the first hurdle, Lise begins to find her way about the streets of Paris, but soon realised being in Paris as a single is limited as, is this not the ‘city of love’. It is not until Madame Christophe and her mother railroad her into taking French language classes to further improve her spoken language skills, does she finally begins to make friends and start to become a part of the ‘artistic, bohemian’, lifestyle she craved before leaving Melbourne.
Of course this new found way of life does not come without its ups and downs, but as time and her ability to enjoy more and more of Paris becomes the norm, rather than the accepted, it is then she begins to take a look into ‘matters more personal’.
Lisette soon has to make some decisions which will see her planned visit to Paris come under review with the options offered set take her on yet another pathway of discovery.
Bateson has capture the absolute essence of growing up, facing challenges, making decisions, having the heart ‘broken’, in the heady, undeniable magic that is Paris, to create a totally enjoyable romp with love, fashion, food and life, as can only happen in Paris!
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|