Paris, Part Time is a different kind of love story — it is an adventurous evolution of self-creation and determination to overcome obstacles and time zones that will take the reader to the streets, cuisine, culture, and matchless beauty of France.
In 2008, Lisa Baker Morgan, a thirty-eight-year-old, newly divorced mother, unexpectedly found herself staring down death in a Monaco hospital, nine time zones away from her two young daughters in Los Angeles. After facing mortality and surviving, her life took on a sense of urgency to experience and accomplish all of the things she had ever wanted for herself and her daughters.
Top of her list: a life-long desire to live in Paris. The seemingly indulgent and even “crazy” aspiration was part of a journey that set her on the path of recovery of health and of spirit.
From lessons of impermanence to finding the joie de vivre, Paris, Part Time showcases the vulnerability and strength of the human spirit and motherhood, and our desire to transcend setbacks and live our best life, however we define it, whatever our circumstances. Relatable in sentiment, heart-felt, and humorous, Paris, Part Time bounds with the optimism of infinite possibility and gratitude for life itself. Twenty-five recipes and over forty pages of photographs reflecting the author’s journey and experiences in France are included.
Morgan sprinkles in italicized French words and phrases liberally and without translation, leaving readers to comprehend them from context (“Ahead of le goûter and fin de la semaine traffic, I arrive at the notaire’s office on Rue du Louvre at exactly 3:50 p.m. Je l’ai fait!”). Her black-and-white and color photos of people, places, and delicious foods, presented in two multi-page sections, are gorgeous even on their own, but readers might wish for them to be integrated into the text. However, these are small issues in a genuinely inspirational story of hard work, redefining one’s life, and adapting to changing circumstances.
Readers will savor the descriptions of gustatory delights, often comical and frustrating cultural differences, and language barriers. Morgan writes expressively but never in a flowery way, effectively conveying her purchase, design, and rehabilitation of a Parisian apartment. The book also revolves around motherhood often done long distance, and gives insight into a chef’s creative process while developing recipes in a tiny kitchen. Intimate writing, restaurant-quality recipes, and well-composed photographs result in a delightful memoir that will appeal to a wide range of readers.
Takeaway: This memoir of becoming a chef and moving to Paris is recommended for Francophiles, foodies, and women of all ages.
Great for fans of Eloisa James’s Paris in Love, Elizabeth Bard, David Lebovitz, Frances Mayes.
Design and typography: B-
Marketing copy: B