Kacy's Reviews > Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis

Dreaming in French by Alice Kaplan
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May 18, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: france

I attended a book reading by the author recently and it was amazing to learn of the number of people Ms. Kaplan tracked down and talked to while writing the book. She made a conscious decision not to contact Angela Davis, but to focus on her as she did the others - by talking to friends and associates and delving into their libraries.

I was surprised that the author actually had new things to say about Jackie that the general public doesn't already know.

Susan Sontag was somewhat of a mystery to me when I read the book. I can now understand why Paris was a magic place for her where she could feel free of American puritanical constraints.

Angela was my favorite subject in the book. I was just out of high school and trying to figure out a way to get to France to study for a year when Angela Davis was on trial. I have to admit that I was not interested in her politics at the time and did not realize how she became involved in prison rights. Her facility with the language of French makes me envious. Understanding the politics of France during her time there brought to a new meaning to emancipation to me.

I finally did study in France in 1973. It was a transformative year for me. I applaud Ms. Kaplan's ability to capture the essence or what it meant to her three subjects to spend a year away from America. I wonder if the experience is nearly the same for young people today who are able to have immediate access to friends and family while abroad.

A fascinating read.
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