Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Inside, I feel like the same woman I have always been: full of thoughts and ideas and passion for life and those in it.”
I think memoirs might just be my new favourite thing! I’ve not read many before, but I’m certainly enjoying them when I get the chance to. This particular memoir was written so beautifully, and it contained such a delightful collection of the author’s life stories and experiences in a somewhat cruel, but forgiving world. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of detail the author goes into, as well as the things she shares with her readers. I would definitely recommend it for not only fans of a good memoir, but also those with a love of travelling, culture and French cuisine.
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. 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.
Lisa’s story is an unforgettable one; from spending time in a Monaco ICU to separating from her partner and father to her two daughters, she endured such long and painful months that no one should ever have to go through. The author is completely honest about her experiences from the start which I really admired, and her courage and strength built from these experiences shows in her words. I particularly enjoyed Lisa’s tone and style of writing – sometimes I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a work of fiction! It was so beautifully put together – almost poetic – and it was such a joy to read her life experiences in this way. I loved her passion for her family and for Paris, and it was heartbreaking to read about her time in that hospital bed, with no true understanding of what was wrong with her, or whether she’d survive the ordeal. It was instantly clear that this woman was incredibly strong and that she had an amazing life story to tell.
There was a very pleasant surprise in between Lisa’s snippets of story – recipes! Each sounded so delicious and I thought this was such a unique touch to her book. From cakes and cookies to seafood casserole, there was a little something for everyone, and brought us back to the culture and cuisine of France. I made a mental note to try some of the recipes out for myself! As well as the recipes, there are also drawings and photographs that really make you stop and think, reminding me once again that Lisa’s story is true. The paper crown on her hospital bed, the photographs of her two beautiful daughters and breathtaking views make the book come alive. As we moved on in the book, it was nice to see a little more happiness as Lisa gets better after her time in hospital, and we get to share her hopes and dreams for the future.
Throughout the whole of the beginning of the book, Lisa’s passion for everything French was so contagious. I’ve never been to France before and after reading just a section of Lisa’s story, I had an urge to put it on my bucket list! However, the delights of this country and everything it has to offer aren’t celebrated for long. Plans to relocate her two girls causes problems with their father, which again, isn’t an easy ride! The more I read about Lisa’s experiences in this book, the more I realise what she’s had to put up with. She keeps at it and keeps her children at the forefront of every decision she makes which was so heartwarming. However, her passion for cooking and all things France shines through, and her downfalls don’t mean her dreams are shattered completely. The author is determined, motivated and driven, which I was confident would see her well in her journey.
“Sometimes the modification is better than your original plan.”
Hearing about the many, many wonderful people Lisa meets on various trips to her favourite places is so refreshing. It’s so nice to read how she befriends a variety of people, even starting loving relationships with the extra special ones. Lisa appears so easy to get along with, and she proves herself to be the friend that everyone wants! The only part of this book so far that I would say hindered my experience was the use of French words or phrases that I didn’t understand. In some places, these were explained, but in others, we are left to wonder what things mean! It did add an authentic feel to the book however, which was nice. Maybe I should take up French lessons in the future… I’ll add that to my bucket list! 🙂
I’m confident that Lisa’s love of travel will bring her readers so much joy (and envy!) and I loved her descriptions of all her favourite places. Finally selling her old Hollywood home full of memories to start afresh in a brand new place was such a brave and admirable move, and you can really understand the new opportunities that can arise from a new start. I found so many life lessons hidden beneath her words, not only for bettering yourself and learning to increase your strength through every life experience, but to love life and enjoy it at every possible moment. Lisa’s stories continued to make me smile throughout the book and I felt like she had endless experiences to share, which is something I aspire to be in a few years time!
As well as her descriptions of places, her descriptions of delicious food and French cuisine was enough to make anyone hungry! Her love for cooking shines through in these sections of the book, and you can easily see how passionate she is about what she’s good at. I found myself Googling a number of French dishes I wasn’t familiar with, just so I could visualise a lot of what was being described even more. Lisa continues her journey and begins to look at French property with the hope (once again) of being allowed to move there with her two girls. Again, Lisa’s description is so wonderful, this time showing her readers exactly what French property is really like, and what she is hoping to find. There were so many things throughout the book that were so easy to imagine, and again, the photographs to accompany her recounts help with this immensely.
After a grueling process, Lisa manages to get the place she’s always dreamed of, and life continues. There are many photographs telling the story of Lisa’s part-time life in Paris with her daughters, which were simply beautiful – I spent a lot of time looking at these and wishing I could visit other areas of the world. The need has only gotten more intense since we can’t fly anywhere these days! Learning of Lisa’s apartment renovation and really getting to know her neighbourhood filled me with jealousy and I was so so happy she finally gets where she wants to be in life. The journey hasn’t been easy for her by a long shot, but she’s done everything she can to make the life she’s always wanted work for her. Many people need to read this book, especially those who are having doubts about what they can achieve in their lives. I think it will bring them the confidence they need!
“Our comfort zones are not even on the same continent, and it goes to show you that things eventually work out the way they are supposed to.”
Lisa has to break some terrible news about Coco the dog to her daughters, and having recently bought a little Golden Retriever puppy myself, I could really relate to this pain – it was heartbreaking to read. Again, Lisa suffers so much stress, even when she’s got the sale of her apartment out of the way, which should be one of the happiest moments of her life! Surely all the hard work and determination would pay off sooner or later for Lisa and her daughters, and I was hoping her bout of bad luck would soon come to an end. I found myself wanting more and more for Lisa and her little family to be settled and enjoy the life they have along with everything it brings.
From meeting a real Prince, fracturing a wrist and planning cooking demonstrations, the end of the book nicely concludes Lisa’s journey, right up to where she is today. We finally get to visualise Lisa’s completed apartment renovation, and learn of what life now holds for her and her girls now things have settled. Lisa also looks a little towards the future now she’s got where she needs to be, and understands that every experience she has had over the years has helped her to grow and shaped her into the person she has become.
“I wanted to watch my daughters grow. I wanted to teach them and show them as much as I could.”
This was such a lovely, heartwarming read that did exactly what it set out to do: to teach about overcoming obstacles and sharing the wonderful life experience of the author! I loved learning more about the culture and cuisine of France, especially as it’s somewhere I’ve never been before. We learn of the author’s struggles over the years and just how her strength and determination has seen her through so many challenges. Lisa is someone who I really admire, and someone many can learn from. If you’re interested in France or travelling to new places, or even in need of a pick me up after some bad life experiences, this book is the perfect medicine!
Thank you so much to the author, Lisa Baker Morgan for an early copy of her book! Paris, Part Time is released on June 1st, available on Amazon in either kindle or paperback. You can pre-order it now or wait until release day! Make sure you’re following Lisa over on Twitter and Instagram for more updates about the release.