Book Review: Lisette’s Paris Notebook by Catherine Bateson
Lisette’s Paris Notebook by Catherine Bateson
What do you wear to Paris? Ami and I discussed it for hours but I still couldn’t think of anything suitable. Ami said a trench coat with nothing underneath but your best underwear. That was only if some boy was meeting you at the airport, I said.
Eighteen-year-old Lisette has just arrived in Paris (France!) – the city of haute couture and all things stylish – to practise her French and see great works of art. Her clairvoyant landlady Madame Christophe forces her to attend language lessons with a bunch of international students but soon Lise discovers she’s more interested in studying boys than art or verbs …
When the undeniably hot Anders jogs into her life it feels too good to be true. Things get even more complicated when she is pursued by Hugo, a charming English antiques dealer.
Can she take a chance and follow her own dreams? How far into the future can Madame Christophe see? And could Lise really be falling in love – in Paris?
Lisette’s Paris Notebook:
I received a copy of Lisette’s Paris Notebook by Catherine Bateson from Allen and Unwin in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
As soon as I started to read Lisette’s Paris Notebook I knew that I wasn’t going to love it. The writing style didn’t sing to, and the protagonist could not stop complaining.
Lisette’s Paris Notebook follows protagonist Lisette as she arrives in Paris where she will be living for the next couple of months. Lisette has just finished High School in Melbourne, Australia. And she decides that instead of going straight to university, she is going to take a gap year.
Lisette was a difficult protagonist to get along with. Throughout the whole book, she could never make up her mind of what she wanted to do. Lisette is only a couple of years younger than me, but she sounded like a fifth-teen year old. However, I did like seeing Lisette grow throughout the novel. At the start, she seems like she is confused about what is going on in her life, but then she starts to find herself and it was great to see.
When Lisette first arrives in France, she thinks that she has it all down pat. She thinks she knows the language, the cultural and what to expect – but some things take her by surprise. I loved this – no matter how much you watch, read and hear. Being and living in a different country can be very hard.
I also loved that Lisette was from Australia. It’s rare that readers see Australian as the protagonist in young adult. The influence of Lisette being Australian had on the book and the way that she interacted with people was interesting and I really enjoyed it.
I didn’t like most of the characters Lisette’s Paris Notebook. I don’t know if it was because they were unlikable or that we as the reader didn’t get to know them. It felt that the author focused too much on Lisette and not anyone else. It was like she had no real connections.
The romance…well. I normally don’t like more than one romance in the books that I read. But, I think the use of more than one romantic interest worked. Lisette’s first love interest is, trying to put it nicely, a dickhead. He’s the guy that you never want to get in a relationship with. Therefore, I was totally okay with Lisette moving on. Maybe not as quickly as she did. But I did enjoy the romance more the second time.
The writing style of Lisette’s Paris Notebook also wasn’t my favourite. I felt that at times I was being talked down upon. It was like the adults in the book were there to tell us the things that teens do are wrong. However, I did keep on reading. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Another reason why I didn’t like Lisette’s Paris Notebook was that, I felt it was all stereotypes. If I had to read ‘Oh La La’ one more time I was going to lose it. It was like the author just plucked all these sayings and chucked them in. It didn’t feel authentic and I cringe so many time throughout the book. I also felt that some of the remarks about Australia were also stereotypical and the other didn’t say that they were not real.
Overall, Lisette’s Paris Notebook was not for me. It explores family, friendship and romance. It had a protagonist that felt too young to be eighteen and a plot that dragged on. I was expecting and wanting more from Lisette’s Paris Notebook. However, I did keep on reading.
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