Many of us dream of leaving all behind and traveling to a distant land to experience first-hand another culture, to engage with its people, and, why not, to learn another language.
Boyd Lemon had precisely that goal in mind when he retired from the legal profession at the age of 69 and set off for Paris, where he planned to live for two years. He made careful plans, but when he arrived in the City of Light he quickly discovered that things did not quite work out the way he had hoped.
The account of Lemon’s experiences in Paris unfolds as a richly-detailed travelogue giving fascinating insight into how a person’s mind works when faced with decisions that must be made when things go wrong. For example, Lemon evokes our sympathy with his description of the frustration that he felt when he realized that learning French was going to be a far more daunting task than he had ever imagined. He draws us in further as he recounts how his expectation to gain fluency progressively declined and how he realized that he could still enjoy living in Paris and learn from his many experiences there without being fluent in the language.
Lemon’s penultimate chapter entitled “Final Thoughts about Paris” provides helpful insight on the financial cost of moving there for a long-term stay.
Eat, Walk, Write would have benefited from a careful review by a professional editor, as there are numerous spelling errors (both in English and French) as well as occasional inadequate transitions from one paragraph to another. However, these oversights do not reduce the enjoyment of the book.
Readers thinking of traveling to Paris, whether for a few days or for a long stay, will benefit from reading this book. On the one hand, they will be inspired by Lemon’s descriptions of the city, the restaurants that he dined in, the food that he ate, the museums that he visited, and the walks that he took. On the other, Eat, Walk, Write serves as a warning to those who think that they will learn the language rather quickly once they get there.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have spent, collectively, maybe a month in Paris over the years. And the thought to live there has even crossed my mind. But Boyd Lemon’s book, Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany, has given me pause. Not the book, which is very readable and full of information, though at times wistful and thoughtful. It’s the reality of spending a year where, unless you are fluent in French, you sort of live apart from the day to day life of the City of Light. As a tourist, this is one thing, as a resident, it is a whole other thing. Mr. Lemon’s book is a delight to read and yet is a pensive and reflective block by block stroll through the streets of Paris. It is a must for anyone who wants to live in this magical city. It would add immensely to the book’s value if there was list or appendix of the restaurants and places he visited. I made my own as I read. His descriptions of traveling through Spain and Portugal are also intriguing and tempting, all by train. But I believe he leaves the best part of the book to Tuscany; his meanderings and walks make me dream of spending a month there, in the winter, with a cozy fire and its warm and inviting people. They, unlike the residents of Paris, are some of the more enchanting reasons why northern Italy is so wonderful. More on Tuscany the Mr. Lemon, please.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you were to travel to Paris, plan to make a home there, or simply live for awhile…this book MUST be what you read, savor!
Apart from the problems encountered with banks, pay-per-minute cell phones, and the French classroom, etc., among countless others, this book is the essential “French Reality” told as only Boyd Lemon can. As far as the miniscule grammar/punctuation
errors, who cares? It’s the high quality of the endearing storyline which will have you speechless from the beginning!