Dreaming in French
A NovelBook - 2009
American teen Charlotte watches her privileged life in 1970s Paris shatter after her mother's affair with a Polish Communist-resister, a situation that leads to an improverished life in New York and pressures to grow up quickly.
Blackwell North Amer
Charlotte Sanders a precocious American girl growing up in Paris in the late 1970s, leads a charmed life. As students at an elite international school, she and her peers study in Paris's cafes and tabacs, see movies at the Cinematheque, and experience the thrills and agonies of first love to the sounds of Serge Gainsbourg and Pink Floyd. Charlotte's father, a lawyer and quiet intellectual, devotes his spare time to Balzac and opera. Her sister, Lea, is a star equestrian. And her mother Astrid's passion for left-wing causes is equaled only by her fashion sense.
But this idyllic childhood is turned upside down when Astrid has an affair and the family is shattered. Leaving her sister in Paris, Charlotte follows her mother to New York. There, reduced circumstances and Astrid's unwillingness to face reality force Charlotte to quickly grow up. In the shadow of her glamorous and erratic mother, Charlotte has to negotiate her own path to womanhood, eventually living through her own unhappy love affair and returning to a Europe that has been reshaped by the downfall of Communism.
At once a coming-of-age story and a meditation on cultural identity, Dreaming in French is an enchanting portrayal of the challenges of adolescence and an honest account of one girl's discovery that where we come from makes us who we are.
Enjoying a privileged life in late 1970s Paris, American teen Charlotte Sanders finds her family shattered by her mother's affair with a Polish Communist-resister, a situation for which she relocates to New York, where she faces reduced circumstances and pressures to grow up quickly. By the author of Going Topless.
Simon and Schuster
A compelling and poignant coming-of-age story about a sharply observant American girl’s young adulthood in Paris and New York set against the backdrop of Europe’s most turbulent decade—for readers of Curtis Sittenfeld, Diane Johnson, and Lorrie Moore.
For Charlotte Sanders, a precocious and privileged fifteen-year-old American girl growing up in Paris in the late 1970s, life has a dreamy quality. Her father, a lawyer and quiet intellectual, spends evenings reading Balzac in his study and listening to opera. Her sister is a star rider at the equestrian club. And her mother Astrid is charming, gor- geous, and charismatic. But Charlotte’s peaceful existence is turned upside down when Astrid has an affair with a Polish Communist-resister and the family is shattered. Charlotte and her mother move to New York, where reduced circumstances and Astrid’s unwillingness to face reality force Charlotte to quickly grow up. Charlotte observes her mother’s stylish ego- centricity with both disdain and awe as she lives through her own unhappy love affair and finally confronts the emotional scars left by her parents’ divorce.
Featuring pitch-perfect descriptions of Parisian life, this enchanting story is warm, witty, and smart. It is an endear- ing portrayal of the challenges of adolescence and an honest account of one girl’s discovery that where we come from makes us who we are.