Suzy Gershman had been a world traveler for many years, writing the popular Born to Shop series of books. Her favorite place to visit was Paris, and she long held a fantasy of moving there, if only for a short period of time. In her fifties, with their last child grown and out on his own, she finally managed to talk her husband into taking the plunge and moving to Paris for a year. But this joy suddenly turns to grief when Suzy’s husband unexpectedly dies. She decides to
go forward with her dream in his memory and move from the United States to Paris.
C'est la Vie is part memoir, part travelogue, part commentary on
being an American living in Paris. Gershman came into the situation with some advantages—she had already been to Paris many times, had quite a few friends and contacts there, and generally understood what she needed to do to make it happen. But she also had many disadvantages; first and foremost, she didn’t speak French. But her fumbling makes her more human, and readers
are able to relate to her better because of it.
I generally enjoyed C'est la Vie; it was almost like traveling to Paris without even leaving home. But some of
Gershman's experiences are so out of the realm of what a “normal” person would be able to do it made it difficult to completely put myself in her place.
Still, as a travel memoir overall, C'est la Vie is a fun and interesting trek into the life of a woman who dares to take the leap forward with her dreams despite her circumstances.