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20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

by Jennifer L. Scott

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-9937-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Daily Connoisseur blogger Scott explains what she learned about living well from the two French families she stayed with a decade ago as a student in Paris.

Lovers of books about self-improvement will enjoy the author’s debut, which she originally self-published. She winningly combines sincerity and self-deprecation, and her heartfelt desire to improve readers' lives is touching, if a bit wearying after more than 250 pages. The “lessons” of the book's title are certainly sound, though it is difficult to see how they qualify as “stylish secrets”; it's not exactly a secret, even to unchic Americans, that snacking on junk food is bad, exercise is good and clutter is undesirable. Scott's gestures toward inclusion are admirable; she is careful to emphasize that true style is not a quality available only to the wealthy. This egalitarian principle is undermined to some degree by constant references to products like the Clarisonic, a “sonic skin care tool” that “starts at $149.” It's hard to miss the product placement—Scott helpfully includes an index of shockingly expensive recommended beauty aids at the end—but even this can be overlooked, since it's clear the author is more true believer than cynical shill. For the most part sweet-natured and well-intentioned, the author will find few to quibble with her concluding recommendation to “lead a life of passion.”

Lighthearted and silly, full of advice as patently obvious as it is sensible.