“Well, for one thing, he looks like a Ken doll. And you’re beautiful.”
I trip and fall down on the sidewalk.
I finally gave in to all the listicles I’ve read telling me to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I don’t know what kept me from it before because this is precisely the kind of book I absolutely adore. It was a sweet, enlightened coming-of-age story, also known as my favorite kinds of stories. I even highlighted my favorites quotes and words like the above quote. Needless to say however, I absolutely loved it.
Much like Anna, I was originally horrified at the thought of being sent to a different country to complete my senior year of high school. Getting to experience that last year with all of my friends was icing on the cake of high school, so even though she was sent to Paris by her father (because really, how bad could that be?) I completely understood her frustration with missing out on this iconic year of her life. However, she went on the very possible adventure that I wish I could go on as well. Anna experienced exactly what you dream of when you dream of Paris. Love. Anna is quickly welcomed into a group of people that become her group. She meets a beautiful boy named Étienne St. Clair and finds her best friend and love in him. Just like most people, she finds out what it’s like to fall in love with their best friend but the pain of not being able to see it through because he’s with another girl. These people are there for the intense betrayal, her grand mistakes, and to yell her shortcomings at her that lead to the realization that she must accept them to grow.
It really felt like I understood Anna more than I’ve understood some narrators. I laughed out loud at her hilarious sarcastic comments and the situations she found herself in. What made me love it most though is that I’ve been in situations just like her. For instance, in the quote above she trips after Étienne calls her beautiful. I don’t know about you but being called beautiful always catches me off-guard and it would be just my luck to fall on my face because I wasn’t prepared for something like that. The comments she makes about the insolence of people around her are hilarious and the thoughts she has are insightful and wonderful to read.
Including the enticing, enchanting story that brings you immediately back to the feelings every girl has when they’re being strung along by a guy they think is into them, the excruciating feeling of not knowing if you’re best friend loves you back, and simply navigating high school my favorite thing about the story is that it was possible. While it felt far away, being set in Paris and all, it seemed to bring the foreign charm and draw of Paris closer to me. As I walked through the City of Lights with Anna and Étienne I discovered that maybe I’m not so different from them.
I’m figuring myself out too, but the fact that someone like me did it in Paris made me feel that maybe I could go on an adventure I’d never forget and find a love I’d never live without. Maybe I’d get over my fear of being alone, maybe I’d face my fear and dream of discovering a brand new city completely by myself, is they could do it why can’t I?