Hey guys! It’s SUMMER and so while I’m reading so many new books, I sometimes interrupt all those new books to reread something off of my bookshelves. After reading a few really dark, emotional stories about death, I needed a fun break. And what should have caught my eye but Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. So I thought I’d do a throwback review!
I originally read this in February of 2011 during my freshman year of college and I hadn’t reread it since. I’m really excited to compare my original review with my thoughts now! (The original review will be in italics, but if you would like to read the actual review, you can find it here. This was one of my first reviews, so don’t judge it too harshly.)
As strange as it sounds, I am very hesitant to give it as high a rating as I will. It’s not because it’s bad (because it’s far from that), but because it has mirrored my first year in college with alarming accuracy. And it’s forced me to see things I was much happier not facing.
Even six years later, I still stand by this. I spent my entire freshman year thinking I was in love with my best friend, just like Anna. And we had one misunderstanding after another, just like Anna. This book actually helped me say something to him about it. (It kind of blew up in my face, but I don’t blame the book.) Still, it was super eerie.
That’s probably part of the reason this book gets such good ratings. Girls can always recall that one guy that they fell in love with even though they knew they shouldn’t.
Stephanie Perkins, in my opinion, has written the quintessential unrequited love story. Never have I read another story that hits so close to reality when it comes to that mix of bliss and masochism that is unrequited love. The characters are beautifully written and I love each and every one of them.
The pain Anna feels is raw (and mixed with my own, it’s a lethal combination).
I may have been a bit melodramatic, but Perkins has always excelled at writing emotions with such skill that it feels personal. Sure, it didn’t hit me as hard this time as it did six years ago (I’m in a happy relationship at the moment, so no more unrequited love, thank God), but the emotions are still there. I remember those feelings, as I’m sure nearly all of you do as well. The feelings of betrayal, happiness, loneliness, lost-ness (I may be making up a new word there, but I’m an English teacher, so I can), and rightness when you’re with the right person. And Perkins perfectly encapsulates them in Anna’s experiences.
What’s really awesome is that this summer, I’ve started teaching myself French and I can understand more of the French that pops up in this story now, and I get the French culture a little better. The setting of this is probably why I picked this book in the first place out of the hundred others in my possession. C’est trés belle en France oui? Bien sûr! (My French is still really basic, but I’m learning.)
Anyway, the setting of this book is gorgeous. Not only is it in Paris, but Anna ends up visiting some of the beautiful landmarks in the city. The Panthéon, Notre-Dame, many cafes around the city. I just love how much culture is in this book.
Even after all these years, I still find that this book speaks on a level that is just so different from many of its contemporaries in the YA contemporary romance category. It’s just different. The characters are different and the situation is different. This book totally deserves every rose I give it.