What happens when your nouveau-riche father decides that his daughter needs to be more cultures? Your entire world is flipped upside-down as you’re sent to a boarding school in a country where you don’t speak the language. That’s exactly what happens to Anna when she’s sent to the School of America, in Paris. She now must make new friends, try to stay in touch with her old ones and the most terrifying ordeal of all? Ordering her meals in French. She might want some nice fresh pain (bread) but ends up saying paon (peacock). Yum, paon and fromage for breakfast.
It may seem strange, but I enjoy the use of language in this book. I think accents, like St. Clair’s are written very authentically. Bridge’s love of words is a great way to introduce readers to new worlds. (And seriously inspires me to see if I can find a set of Oxford English Dictionaries for my personal library.) The use of foreign languages in books can be tricky to do well, but I think the author struck a balance brilliantly.
I find Anna very relatable – it doesn’t hurt that she’s a fellow lefty. But I also feel like she reads older than she is. Throughout the novel, I feel like she is at University (aged 19-20) rather than still in high school. Her desire to be a film ritic is how I feel about books and reviewing. She says, “I just like… expressing my opinion. That possiblity of turning someone on to something really great.” Reading is my passion and I wan to share that with people. If I can introduce them to a book I’ve fallen in love with and it touches them in some way – I’m happy.
When I read the novel, I can feel myself walking along the Seine or admiring Notre Dame. Paris is a beautiful setting adn the author represents it wonderfully. It is one of those novels that gives you wanderlust and an undeniable urge to visit the places that Anna does.