So sometimes as part of my job, I get books from publishers. Today I got one called We've Always Had Paris...And Provence: A Scrapbook Of Our Life In France. Here were my reactions to this book, after seeing the cover (which features two rosy-cheeked, well-fed white people in what appears to be a lovely garden):
1. Wow. Screw you guys.
2. What would interviewing these people be like?
Interviewer: "So, 30 years in Paris and Provence. What's that been like?"
Authors: "Well, fabulous. Lovely. Just perfect, really."
Interviewer: "Any...conflict? Any hard moments you had? Any tough adjustments to life in France?"
Authors: "Well, not everyone speaks English. But our taste, fame, and most of all, knowledge of how life should be lived* helped us overcome that! And sometimes the lilacs and lavender in Provence just weren't fragrant enough. Also, it's sometimes a real challenge to choose which wine to have or which cheeses to eat. Or which adorable boulangerie to get our pastries and bread from."
Interviewer: "Huh. Well...great."
3. (upon reading the 'advance praise' blurbs for the book on the back cover) Jesus. The word 'charming' is used in every one of these blurbs.
4. Why the ellipse? Really. Why? "We've always had this amazing European city DOT DOT DOT WAIT FOR IT WAIT FOR IT WAIT FOR IT and the breathtaking French countryside!" Oh, you hateful ellipse. Way to add one more crappy little bruising pinch, one more little oooh I'm sorry, did you stub your toe on our fabulous life? How rude of us, let us move it. It does take up a lot of room!
5. Perhaps a better subtitle would be "313 pages detailing why our lives are superior to yours in nearly every way imaginable"**
OK. I'm sure these are both lovely (charming!) people. And perhaps I'm a little bitter that some people get to live lives like that, and then get paid to write a book about how awesome their lives are. I admit it. But still! I was having this conversation with my sister the other day about non-fiction that showcases the author's almost unbelievable good fortune and financial advantage. As a reader, why in the world would you care about someone who writes about constructing a perfect life with tools very few people have access to? What would any reader get out of these books? Someone somewhere must think these books are good ideas - they keep showing up on my desk. I'm just sort of mystified.
*This was pulled from one of the blurbs on the back of the book
**Seriously! 313 pages!