Book review: The Paris Effect by K.S.R. Burns

3/5 stars

So, this was an interesting one and honestly a little tricky to review in terms of star rating, as it definitely had me hooked but overall it left me kind of unsatisfied and therefore I landed on a 3.

This story is about a woman (Amy) who is in mourning the death of her best friend, seems uncertain about her marriage and her life in general, and decides to head off to Paris on her own while her husband is on a business trip. I guess ostensibly to find herself but also as some sort of homage to Kat, the dead best friend, as this was something they initially planned to do together. She also has a pretty obsessive eating disorder.

So far, so average chick-lit story. However, in my opinion this novel is cut from a different cloth. It was not predictable, and when I thought I saw where it was going it suddenly took a different turn. Not in the sense that there were really twists in the story, but characters just acted differently and things transpired differently than one might assume. Which was refreshing and was one of the reasons I felt compelled to “just read one more chapter” when I really should be going to sleep.

The writing was also quite good, which again was a pleasant surprise as this for me was one of those “bought on whim on sale” Kindle books, where the quality can be rather variable. As someone who has struggled with ED a large part of her life, I found Amy’s obsessive behaviour and thoughts relating to food very recognisable. And there were several passages both in relation to this but also throughout the rest of the novel that I found myself highlighting because they were familiar feelings or apt phrases.

However… While I did enjoy that I didn’t see things coming, I felt that this was slightly to the detriment of the plot, like maybe the writer was trying too hard to write an original stroy and it became a bit muddled. What was the story really about? There’s a bit too much going on, in general, but also with Amy herself. And what is with her symptoms of being ill? That’s a big thread throughout the story which kind of keeps returning. She’s fine and then suddenly she’s not, then she’s fine again, and not again. And I’m just not sure what the point was.

Also the characters felt a little two-dimensional, even Amy. I don’t really feel like I understand what happened between Amy and Kat in college, and given how their relationship changed, how/why were they still so close? Amy does not seem to have any insight into herself and doesn’t really reflect over what happens and learn from it. Also the ending was kind of weird. I can’t really explain how without giving spoilers, but lets just say if you get to the point where you do what the characters did, I would at least expect it warranted an actual conversation. I don’t know, it was a slightly mystifying/unsatisfying ending to an overall enjoyable read.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend it, but it was engaging and has some great description. Just a little too all over the place.

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This sounds like my kind of book, although the dissatisfaction at the end must have been annoying

    Like

    1. Well maybe give it a try – you might not agree with me. šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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