Friday, 19 February 2021

Breathless

Finished February 14 
Breathless: An American Girl in Paris by Nancy K. Miller


This memoir is by a professor of women's studies looking back on her early adult years as she tried to follow a dream inspired by movies set in Paris. For her, this time was a time of experimentation, of rebellion against her parents' expectations, and a time of trying to figure her life out.
She began relationships with men, sometimes inappropriate ones. She taught and went to school, she wrote and read, she listened to music and learned about food. She explored her sexuality and tried to figure out what she wanted in a partner.
Not all her choices were good ones, but she threw herself into these things she tried, and made an attempt to look at them objectively. 
The time is the late 60s and early 70s, and she was not alone in her explorations. She met, became friends with, and had relationships with other expat Americans, some of whom she kept in touch with for years. She lived in a variety of housing situations, and visited other European places on occasion.
She is half a generation older than me, and some things she did I can't relate to at all, especially as we have quite different backgrounds. 
She grew up in a secular Jewish family who had a reputation to uphold, and friends in Paris. This gave her access to the life of real Parisians, but she also spent a lot of time with other students her own age, both Jewish and otherwise. 
It was an interesting read.

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