Thursday, April 4, 2013

Curmudgeon's Corner: Review of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and a Rant about Dumb Boys

Anna and the French Kiss Goodreads Book Description: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:
 I've heard such great things about this book that I knew eventually I'd have to read it. When it went on sale at Amazon, I snapped it up. And I'm glad I did. I award this book 4.5 stars.

Anna, the star of Anna and the French Kiss, is shipped off to a French boarding school for her senior year. She is lonely and friendless, but immediately finds a good friend in Meredith, a girl in her dorm. From there, she meets St. Clair, who she is drawn to the moment they meet. Then she finds out that he has a girlfriend that he's been with FOREVER. What transpires next is her journey not only navigating the tricky waters of adolescent love, but finding herself, and what it means to be a true friend.

I really loved this book. The biggest reason I do is because of Anna herself. She is a terrific protagonist, flawed, but likeable, and grows throughout the book as she realizes things about herself and how she interacts with other people. The dialogue and prose is witty, sharp, and clear, and I couldn't stop reading until the end even though I desperately needed sleep. I loved all of the characters and everything seemed so real to me. I loved the descriptions of Paris and the places that Anna visited. I know now why everyone gushes about this book, because it really is a gem.

There's only one small thing that is more of a personal observation than anything else. How many of you have had a St. Clair in your past? I just have my doubts about how this all resolved from my own experience, but I'll have to leave it at that to not put any spoilers up here.

Overall, a witty and beautifully written YA contemporary novel with a winning protagonist.

More thoughts (SPOILER ALERT)
I want to go more in depth about my doubts about this resolution. Don't get me wrong, you can tell by my review that I loved this book. And I did-- it was charming, witty, and everything you want a love story to be. But a raise of hands of anyone who has ever been in this situation where you are in love with a boy who already has a long term girlfriend? *raises hand*

Let me tell you, guys rarely leave their long term girlfriends for whatever reason-- safety, ease, avoidance of drama, you name it. You can kind of compare it to married men-- they don't usually break up a marriage for someone they are having an affair with.

I had my own experience with this many years ago. I had a hopeless crush on a guy. His girlfriend was long distance and they were on the road to breaking up ever since he broke off their engagement two years prior (this should have sent warning bells through my head). But somehow, they kept staying together anyway. We spent every day together, watching movies, going out to dinner, etc. It was like we were together without the kissing part (sound like St. Clair)? I finally confronted him about it, and he said that I was the kind of girl he had always dreamed of dating, but he had a girlfriend. He also said we weren't doing anything wrong, we were being friends (I have my doubts about this statement as well). I knew then that this wasn't going anywhere. I was crushed and heartbroken. But I took a chance and went out on a date with another guy, just for kicks. That guy turned out to be hot, sweet, intelligent, and AVAILABLE. He became my husband a year later and we've been happily married every since!

I thought it kind of lame that as soon as Anna kisses St. Clair and it is absolutely crystal clear that she is in love with him, St. Clair then runs off and dumps his girlfriend. Erm. Ok. Why didn't he do that a long time ago instead of making it so complicated? I'm sorry, but the "I'm scared of being alone," while is true for many guys, isn't the greatest excuse. And for him AND Anna to compare her trying to date other guys to branch out because St. Clair is being so wishy washy to his not getting the balls to break up with his girlfriend is hogwash.

OK, rant done. I just wanted to explain my vague statements in my review to those of you who have read the book already :-)

What did you think of the book? Did this part of the book bother you like it did me?

46 comments:

  1. Great rant. I felt much the same as you after reading the book - similar experience to you in the guy dept - but I put a lot of it down to my age. The book as a whole was so much fun to read that in the end I forgave St Clair for being a total ass. It is fiction after all :)

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    1. True that. I really enjoyed the book (and ranting about it) :-)

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  2. Totally agree with you. I found St. Clair was really wrong to string Anna along. When Anna yelled: "You weren't alone l, asshoke" (intentional censorship xD), I cheered for her, because I was glad she finally realized that St. Claire was kind of a jerk. I had resigned myself to the fact that they wouldn't end up together, but I'm glad they did either way. Other than the Etienne problem, I found that I really liked the book. Great review!

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    1. I'm sure he didn't MEAN to be a jerk, but was a jerk nontheless. Totally concur with your comment!

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  3. That part bothers me immensely-it lowered my rating of this book and it's why I always shake my head when I see bloggers put St. Clair on their list of favorite book boys. He's certainly never going to make mine after behaving like that. If you met a guy like that in real life (and I've fortunately never been in that situation), you'd be pissed off as you demonstrate in your extended (excellent btw) rant.

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes, although I enjoyed the book, St. Clair will never be a book crush of mine... been there and done that, and never again ;-)

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  4. I'm with you here. i loved this book too, but also felt that St.Clair wasn't really all that straight with her. If were real life, I don't see the relationship lasting. Thanks for the rant.

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    1. Agreed. I see this relationship not lasting longterm.

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  5. On the other hand, there are men (and) who continue relationships just because they are convenient, and they don't want to be alone. I choose to believe his relationship was one of those....

    I understand that if you've been burned before, it might be hard to see it that way, though.

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    1. I think that's exactly why he stayed in the relationship, which I think is a really silly reason. That's what happened in my situation too-- but would I really want to be with a guy that dependent on a relationship? :-) Thanks for your great comments!

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  6. Like you pointed out, it is a very realistic situation and girls fall for it all the time, because (often) when a guy is in a relationship he is more relaxed around girls. The girl falls for the relaxed (no pressure) guy and then hangs around waiting for the flagging relationship to end. If said guy and girl met when guy was single, there would be no popcorn and movie nights at the house between friends! And the girl would be less likely to get to know guy in the same way.

    Right?

    I understand your frustration w/St. Clair's lack of chutzpah, but the book is spot on accurate whether we like it or not. Oh - and I loved the book and grinned the entire time I was reading it.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I'm going to play devil's advocate here though. First-- what are the boundaries when you are in a relationship? Would you be okay with your hot boyfriend spending movie nights alone with a girl even without kissing? Second, if this has happened once, how can you be sure he won't do the same thing to you? (Get comfortable with a girl, and do everything but kissing-- so essentially, emotionally cheating)

      I can't help but think this relationship wouldn't last, realistic as though this situation is, that kind of end is also just as realistic.

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  7. I didn't read your spoilers because I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard about this book SO MUCH. I'm happy to hear you loved it...I really need to get around to reading it soon.

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    1. Great! You can read the rest of the post once you've read the book :-)

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  8. Well, he had to make things complicated or there would be no plot. LOL.

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  9. I so agree with you in the rant part where you asked why didn't he dump his girlfriend first. That is the first question I asked myself after reading this book. Dumb boy! lol but i still love him.

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    1. I guess that's why they are teenagers, they have to learn :-)

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  10. Great rant! I haven't read the book yet, but I did read the Spoiler Alert! Yes I know a St.Clair from the past. After reading everyone's comments I need to read this book. I should write a book about my St.Clair, it would take everyone for a twist at the end. I hope Anna feels at the end, the best thing to happen to her is good - riddance!
    Donna Harris

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    1. I would read your book!!! Let me know when it comes out ;-)

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  11. Great RANT! I haven't actually read the book yet, but I absolutely love your review and I almost bought this book a couple of days ago but I passed it up, thinking that I wouldn't enjoy it. However, now I regret not getting it.

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    1. It's a fun read and it would be a great upcoming summer read :-)

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  12. I liked your review & also the spoiler alert.It really makes sense.St. Claire already has a girlfriend. If he is a good guy he will never dump his old friend and try really hard to explain the situation to Anna or to his girl friend.I haven't bought this book yet because of my final semester.But I'll absolutely read this on my vacation.

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  13. I liked your review & also the spoiler alert.It really makes sense.St. Claire already has a girlfriend. If he is a good guy he will never dump his old friend and try really hard to explain the situation to Anna or to his girl friend.I haven't bought this book yet because of my final semester.But I'll absolutely read this on my vacation.

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  14. the guy...st.clair...i don't really like him as a protagonist in the book...
    i don't want to like a guy who has girlfriend..very complicated and i don't want to be the one who break other girl relationship..its hurt...like my father who abandon his family just to be involved with other woman..it sucks !!

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    1. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry you are dealing with that. Yes, I too have very strong feelings about this!!!

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  15. This ones been on my radar. Thanks for peaking my interest in it again.

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  16. Thank you for reviewing. I didn't read your spoilers because I haven't read this one yet.

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  17. I wanted to read that book! I didn't read the rant because of the spoilers but I will definitely come back so I can share my thoughts along with yours :)

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  18. Loved your review! Can't wait to read it!

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  19. Always wanted to read this I just never got around to it

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  20. Great review! I don't see this whole scenario happening in real life and I don't see their relationship lasting that long (if it were real life)!

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  21. This is Becky Gardner and I do agree with your points and rant. I did not though read the spoilers, because I have started the book, but not finished it yet.

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  22. A very fun rant and I totally agree with you! I actually haven't finished reading the book and now it's still sitting on my on-hold reading list, sheesshh.
    Anyway, great post! :)

    - Diana

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  23. Love this rant, excellent review too!

    I never really thought about St. Claire like that but you're absolutely right.

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  24. Love this rant, excellent review too!

    I never really thought about St. Claire like that but you're absolutely right.

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  25. I'd totally agree with you there. Maybe that's the reason why Anna and the French didn't click on me. Very insightful observation indeed!

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  26. oh i hate the man who dumped his girlfriend for another woman...even she is a led from a book....still st.clair is cheater...

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  27. His accent is swoon worthy, but what really annoyed me is the fact that all the characters in the book just LOVED him,and I didn't understand why -.-.

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  28. Great rant! Didn't read the spoiler though, since I haven't read the book yet, it has been on my tbr for a long time, and I hear nothing but good coming of all the reviews I have read!

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  29. I love this book! Was happy to see those characters again in the Lola. I hate cheaters though. I wish Etienne was more honest with his gf...

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  30. Amazing rant. Very fun to read.

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  31. good rant! i love anna & the french kiss, i love them being together, but i felt SO MUCH frustration throughout this book lol

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