This blog-turned-book shares the lessons that Ms. Scott learned while living as an exchange student i...moreThis review originally posted on JustALilLost.com
This blog-turned-book shares the lessons that Ms. Scott learned while living as an exchange student in Paris. Between Madame Chic (the matriarch of her host family) and Madame Bohemienne (from her boyfriend’s host family), Scott dissects all the tidbits she has learned from one’s exercise, diet, fashion and attitude.
There are plenty of books out there that embark on sharing the “insider” knowledge of how to live a Parisian lifestyle. Lessons from Madame Chic is the first of this kind that I’ve picked up and I’m sad to admit that it wasn’t for me. I certainly won’t begrudge all books of this topic, but I couldn’t connect with the author whatsoever in this. Her lessons were broken out in chapters, each section would talk about her experience with either Madame Chic or Bohemienne, and then ends the chapter with a recap on an already fairly short chapter. It felt so completely repetitive and redundant to me. The “lessons” are not long in explanation nor hard to comprehend so the recap is really unnecessary.
I did enjoy parts of the fashion section, especially the push to declutter the closet. I am guilty of keeping things far longer than necessary, even without wearing them for seasons so it motivated me a little bit to do a bit of spring cleaning. That being said, the parts that Scott could have elaborated on, she didn’t. She talks about a 10-piece wardrobe, but doesn’t really go too much into it with relevant helpful info – however she dedicates numerous pages to different variations of doing your make-up from a more au naturel look to a 2-, 5-10, or 15-minute look. In a blog? This would work with the tutorials, but in a book this was so monotonous. I also think she might need to find a new word for older women, as “women of a certain age” being used constantly – sometimes within sentences of each other – is extremely irritating to read and totally repetitive.
There was a lot of potential with this book, because surely living with a host family in the iconic city of Paris would garner some great experiences, but I personally don’t believe it was executed properly in this particular format or voice. So much repetition made it feel like fluff and filler, hiding the actual good nuggets of information. True, there were some sections that I found interesting and I’d have gladly read more about the arts, entertaining/being a hostess, and one’s shopping habits. Perhaps others who may not be as familiar with the Parisian way of life will find this book a lot more informative and handy than I did. I’m by no means an expert, but because I’m so obsessed with Paris and having read many books set in this city that it just didn’t appeal to me as much.(less)
Perhaps most well known for his improv on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Colin Mochrie tries his hand at some writing...moreOriginally posted on JustALilLost.com
Perhaps most well known for his improv on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Colin Mochrie tries his hand at some writing a book by taking the improv game of “first line, last line” and using that as a prompt to write his own versions of some classic tales. Mochrie tackles the likes of Great Gatsby to Fahrenheit 451 to The Cat in the Hat.
Colin Mochrie is an incredibly talented comedian, having watched him on both the U.K. and U.S. version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. His zany humour certainly translates in his writing as he tackles some very well-known stories. As with any improv sketch, it can easily run the risk of working or not and I felt that was the case with this book. Mochrie often utilizes the names of characters but completely invents a whole new story with only the first and last lines remaining the same.
A few of my favourite ones were some really clever tales told in verse. Mochrie’s versions of Casey at the Bat, Cat in the Hat and Twas the Night Before Christmas gave me quite the chuckle (even though I did realize that the first line/last line motif wasn’t used for Cat in the Hat for some reason). The stories inspired by The Tale of Two Cities and Frankenstein I also really enjoyed, but a couple others were truly so bizarre that I just couldn’t get into it.
I recognize that it isn’t easy writing a humour book when comedy is so subjective and the author doesn’t have the benefit of gauging audience reaction while they’re doing their act. In its essence, writing a novel is tough to categorize as “improv” when it goes through so many drafts and edits, but what Mochrie has done in Not QUITE the Classics is that he gives the readers a taste of how these stories might have played out in an improv set on the stage. Perhaps it’s with the help of his acting and improv experience but Mochrie is able to adapt his writing style and tone with each story that he’s retelling. An entertaining (and bizarre) read that will be sure to give you a good chuckle!(less)