Friday, September 16, 2011
"Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins
Wow. This book surprised me. You’ve probably noticed by reading my reviews, I don’t read contemporary that often. I mean, sure, I like a good Sarah Dessen novel, I really liked The Summer I Turned Pretty books, and Five Flavors of Dumb is one of my new favorite books, BUT I read a lot more science-fiction/paranormal/dystopia/mystery/horror stuff as compared to anything supposedly based in reality. I’m not sure if that’s because I like to read about things other than reality or because I think most so-called ‘realistic’ fiction seems so very unrealistic to me, or something else, but regardless, picking this up was REALLY out of the norm. I mean, read the title and description, look at the cover. Geez. Chick-lit-y central, yes? In fact, I really wouldn’t have picked up this book, but I’ve read so many good reviews about it and I kept seeing it at libraries and bookstores and such and thought, hey, I’ll give it a try. It’s just a book. Maybe I’ll dislike it… but so what, you can’t like everything!
While out of my regular-reading-zone, this book amazed me. I pretty much loved it. Of course, I adored European-American love interest St. Clair, and I really liked Anna’s spunky sarcasm and intelligence, but that’s not all (I’m going to try to never say ‘that’s not all’ again because reading that in my head, it sounds like an infomercial). The flaws. If this book was anywhere near perfect, though nothing is, it was because of the character’s flaws. I realize that makes no sense. But it’s because everything wasn’t perfect. Anna and St. Clair didn’t immediately fall for each other. This book was not just completely about their puppy-love. This was not a simple scenario of, ‘girl goes to study abroad, finds perfect boyfriend, lives happily ever after, lalalalalala’. They had their problems and obstacles. There were other characters with the same. Their families were completely dysfunctional at best. I liked that a lot. Most importantly about Anna&St. Clair, first and even in the end I think, they weren’t just boyfriend/girlfriend. They were best friends. Also, the setting: amazing. Paris. So descriptive in a way that didn’t bore me at all, but I really got the feel of it. Additionally, I’m on my second year of French so when a character said something in French, rather than waiting for them to explain it or figuring out what they were saying in the context, I understood it.That has nothing to do with the book itself but I thought it was cool!
So I guess the moral of this story review, is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover/description/concept (even if they're a total cheese-fest) or assume you won’t like it, heck, you shouldn’t judge that way in most areas of life-- gosh knows, you’ll probably be wrong, like me. :P