Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson is my new addiction. Carefully selected by my Mum and placed on my bed awaiting me on a return trip home for Christmas; it has proved to be a 'can't-put-down' read that has rendered my 8a.m. train trips to school (along with an accompanying iPod soundtrack) rather more endurable.
Echoing a start not all that different from mine, this particular petite anglaise fell for France from the second she opened her Tricolore textbook; then set off on her year abroad in her early 20s, ending up in Paris (her dream city) where she chose to settle down.
A combination of gritty irony, hypocrisy and honesty this book is appealing for its rawness. It appeals particularly to me as I can identify with her subtly scathing comments about the neurotic French who have a pharmacy on every street corner, the pushy Parisians who ask to "passer derriere vous" in the metro (too close for comfort for a Brit) and the feeling of the metro-boulot-dodo lifestyle most Parisians come to accept as the norm. As the book suggests, Paris may be the city of love, but she's not perfect.