Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson describes how one expatriate’s blog has changed her life in ways she never expected.
Originally a frank blog detailing the adventures of an expat living in Paris, France, Petite Anglaise the novel chronicles how Catherine reinvented herself and escaped the realities of her failing marriage and struggling mother through the creation of her blog.
The book starts by describing Catherine’s life as an expat in France in its entire illusionary splendor: she lives in a beautiful apartment that has breathtaking views, is married to a handsome Frenchman and together they have a beautiful child. Yet something is not quite right and despite the apparent glamour of living and working in Paris, Catherine is finding her life overwhelming and dull. Keen to escape the humdrum of married life as a mother, Catherine starts an expat blog that she originally intends to use as a means of sharing her experiences in France as an expat. However, the online diary soon escalates to become a place where she shares her most private feelings and intimate details about her life with her husband.
What happens next is beyond what Catherine could ever have anticipated and her blog takes her to places and new relationships she could never have imagined.
In terms of insights into life in Paris, the book is perhaps slightly limited. However, it does provide a useful look at some of the realities of living abroad and the difficulties and hidden pitfalls of expat relationships and it would also make a great read for expatriates who are considering starting their own blogs. It provides a fascinating insight into what can happen when real and virtual worlds collide and the risks associated with sharing intimate details of one’s personal life with the entire world.