Sunday, January 09, 2011

Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson

Catherine Sanderson, author of the highly popular blog Petite Anglaise has the type of life that bloggers only dream about: a platform that makes her rich and noticed and shoves her name into the spotlight. Moreover, provides a succulent and romantic real-life twist that in our age of get-famous-fast is the perfect basis for her chicklit memoir.

You'll think that she's making this up.

I have read Petite Anglaise on and off for the past few years. Only when I remember to read it, of course ( I am by no means an avid follower) and mostly because I relate to Sanderson's passion for a city.

Paris was her dream city since she was a little girl: just as Vienna was ( and is ) mine.

In fact, in the memoir ( of the same title as her blog), it is Sanderson's descriptive paragraphs of the magic Paris holds on her that most enraptured me. Sanderson has her highs and lows in the love life department ( and she is surprisingly blatent considering the widespread nature of her readers and the fact that those she is close to will no doubt regret being so present: regardless of their carefully Sanderson-sanctioned noms de plume). Sanderson works at a dead-end job, eats croissant and strolls down gardened streets. She sees film noir, gazes up at the Eiffel tower and falls in love with the french man of her dreams.

She blogs and blogs about her disintegrating relationship, her daughter ( referred to as Tadpole) and an articulate regular blog-commenter who becomes an eventual love interest. Sparks fly, first, in the comments box and then in real life: so much so, Sanderson's marriage reaches the last harrowing moment of its downfall.

Sanderson does a splendid job of discussing the way that her blog becomes a bit of an alter ego. Penning her everyday adventures in a decidedly different written voice colours perspective and memory in an interesting and somewhat biased way. Her readers are desperate for more of the drama that knits her existence. What they romanticize and yearn for: she would love to hold at bay.

Petite Anglaise is, at the very least, a very self-absorbed read. As I was pondering that effect and grumbling over how absorbed Sanderson seems in her life and tribulations, I concluded that she is not completely to blame: that's what blogging is.

Blogging is just a forum for us to talk non-stop about ourselves. If people jump on the train and follow us along our winding tracks then the audience is well-regarded. But, let us not disillusion ourselves by supposing that (most) blogging is in some way, shape or form a funnel from which we can impart something groundbreaking on the universe. That may be so for one blog or another; but, for most of us helpless, susceptible writer-minions, we just want to hear ourselves speak.

Listen to me ( no seriously: LISTEN TO ME!)

I finished Petite Anglaise in an afternoon at Starbucks taking very good advantage of their chai tea latte promotion.

This is not rocket science. This is not War and Peace. But, it is evidence of the power one's voice can find when it wiles its way through the computer screen of a reader ( or thousands ).

Sanderson will no doubt have a long and fruitful career as a chicklit writer. It is especially ironic that a stunning and engaging chicklit story just happened to be her own.

I didn't spend any money on this. The library helped.

1 comment:

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