Book Review: Paris Syndrome By Lisa Walker – Nadia L King
Paris Syndrome: A Critical Review
Paris is one of the most beloved cities in the world, known for its beauty, intelligence, and charm. That’s why it is no surprise that many people dream of visiting this city and discovering its secrets. However, not everyone’s experience of Paris is what they expected – that is precisely what Lisa Walker’s novel Paris Syndrome explores.
Walker is an Australian journalist and author. She has been working in the media industry for over two decades and has contributed to many publications, including The West Australian, The Courier-Mail, and Women’s Health. She has published two young adult novels prior to Paris Syndrome.
Paris Syndrome is a story about a young Australian woman named Grace who travels to Paris to find herself. Grace, like many millennials, faces multiple issues such as a struggling career and unhappy relationship. Therefore, she believes that a trip to Paris will give her life the clarity it needs. As she explores the city, she discovers that it is not exactly what she expected. Paris Syndrome is a term used to describe a condition in which some tourists are so disappointed with Paris when they visit that they suffer a mental breakdown – and Grace is not excluded from this phenomenon.
Main Themes & Ideas
Paris Syndrome primarily explores the pressures young women face in the society today. The protagonist, Grace, questions her career path and often feels like a failure, intimidated by social media influencers and celebrities, and generally, by the high standards society sets for women. She travels to Paris to escape the adulting world and to feel appreciated by someone who is outside of her world.
Furthermore, the novel illustrates the idealized vision that mainstream media paints of Paris as a glamorous city with every corner decorated with stunning art and music. However, Grace realizes that the city is complex, often disordered, and full of people who are struggling to make ends meet. This is not the picturesque experience she expected or had seen portrayed in movies, which leads to her emotional unraveling.
Critique of Writing Style
While Paris Syndrome is a novel that tackles complex issues, it does so in a way that is easy to read and understand. Walker has a talent for creating believable characters with depth and consistency throughout the story. At the same time, the dialogue is engaging and precise, with an appropriate balance of humor and seriousness.
However, there are moments where the plot seems a bit predictable, and certain characters are not given a chance to shine. Nevertheless, it is hard to fault the author’s approach to storytelling. Her writing style manages to highlight important issues without sounding preachy or monotonous. The balance between exposition and clarity is well-balanced. The way Walker has blended Grace’s struggle to justify her existence with the notion of a flawed society is a commendable attempt.
Strengths & Weaknesses
One of the most significant strengths of Paris Syndrome is the way it tackles the issue of mental health. The author has done an excellent job of capturing the protagonist’s mental breakdown and the subsequent emotional process of recovery. This adds an element of vulnerability and realism that makes the story relatable to many.
However, one of the weaknesses of Paris Syndrome is its portrayal of Paris itself. Although the novel has a unique view of the city, it only portrays the negative side of Paris. There’s no highlight on the beautiful moments and scenery that Paris provides, which gives a one-dimensional representation of the city. Additionally, the novel’s slow pace and Grace’s attitude toward life may put off some readers who prefer more action-packed stories.
Comparing Paris Syndrome with Similar Works
Paris Syndrome is not the first book by an Australian author with a focus on Paris. However< when we compare it with other novels like 'The Little Paris Bookshop' by Nina George and 'The House at Belle Fontaine' by Lily Graham, it has a markedly different tone. While the other novels underline the beauty and wonders of the city, Paris Syndrome portrays a rather complicated picture that may resonate better with a more realistic, gritty reader.
Paris Syndrome is a unique book that inspires contemplation on the modern-day struggles faced by millennials. Its focus on mental health is refreshing and allows readers to understand the importance of seeking help and taking care of oneself. Although there are moments where it could be improved, the novel’s strengths still outweigh its weaknesses. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought-provoking read that goes beyond the usual romanticized Parisian narrative and into the truths and complexities of life.
What is Paris Syndrome?
Paris Syndrome is a psychological disorder experienced by visitors to Paris when their experience does not match their preconceived expectations of the city. It is characterized by symptoms such as anxiety, disillusionment, and depression.
Is Paris Syndrome a real phenomenon?
Yes, Paris Syndrome is a real phenomenon that has been recorded by psychologists and psychiatrists since the early 1980s.
What inspired Lisa Walker to write Paris Syndrome?
The author was inspired to write Paris Syndrome after reading about the disorder in a magazine article. She wanted to explore the concept from a fictional perspective and, as someone who had visited the city, share her experience of Paris with a unique lens.