A BOOK I KEEP COMING BACK TO: HOW TO BE A PARISIAN WHEREVER YOU ARE

Do you have a book that you’ve read twenty times cover to cover? It’s corners are bent down and you’ve sticky noted every other page. Each time it ends, you’re wishing the writer would write a second installment just for you. There’s a mysterious stain on the cover that you don’t remember putting there. And each time you read it, you’re hoping its wisdom will stick this time a little bit more.

For me, this book is How To Be A Parisian Wherever You Are. This might seem like a funny book to reread every few months, but for me I can’t get enough of it. I am and forever will be a Francophile, a trait passed onto me by my dad. There’s something about the French, especially the women, that intrigues me. This was even before Vogue and every other style blog covered the topic of French beauty and style, and glamorized it until there was no mystique left, but I still love this book. It was written collectively by four French women Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas. It’s not so much a book about Parisian women (well of course it is) but a book about self-love and self-acceptance. It’s a book with wisdom that comforts me. There’s something that really resonates with me and makes me feel empowered after I read it.

How could you nail down the identity of a French woman into one book? There are many contradictions within the book, but I think that’s the point. This book encourages women to ditch a specific identity that holds them down and do things that make them satisfied versus things they are expected to do. You can drink too much sometimes because who hasn’t. There’s no such thing as being the perfect woman, so be who you want to be. The perfect relationship doesn’t exist, so find the one that’s perfect for you. It’s okay to be jealous sometimes because that’s natural. It’s okay to get old because we all will. This book teaches me over and over that I don’t have to apologize for my faults or inconsistencies because that’s life and I can’t be perfect.

I read this book when I’m getting too caught up in trying to perfect every avenue of my life. When I need a reminder that I can just be the natural me and I don’t always have to make sense. I don’t have to have a curated closet and be able to describe my look in three words. My journey through life doesn’t have to be exact because that’s more interesting. All things I need to be told every now and again. It’s like a facelift for my brain and a way I get myself back on track to living life but not taking it so seriously.

So are there any books you keep coming back to because it just feels good to read them?

Let me know in the comments.

Ashley

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