(Reviewed by J.D. Jung)
“…if one comes back often enough and stays long enough, the Parisian precision, their prickliness, and the inability to play fair, will begin to matter less and less-“
Few Americans can appreciate the subtle cultural differences between Paris and let’s say, New York, or any U.S. city for that matter. Even fewer people, like me, are prepared for it once they arrive. If you’ve never been to Paris, these disparities may seem insignificant, but they really aren’t. After numerous trips to Paris, including a six-week stay renting an apartment, writer and humorist Ruth Yunker, explains how she learned to love this impersonal city in Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Ways.
This “learning” experience was a process. Even after living in Belgium as a child and visiting Paris with her family-which she reminisces about- Yunker learned the hard way.
As an adult, she insulted a waiter by not finishing her meal. She sat in the wrong place on a bus. She was unaware of Parisian store etiquette.
On the other hand, she learned to love the unique personality of Paris, its residents and everyday life. She valued the skill of jumping on the metro in high heels without even looking. She appreciated the wet cobblestones in the rain and the couple indiscreetly showing affection in public.
She was infatuated with a perfectly dressed tailor (or two?). Upon discovering that her cat died back in the States, she received “the purest of solace from a serenely crumbling church..”
I found this collection of witty essays so addicting and I couldn’t wait to see what treasure she would discover next. All of the flavors and aromas of Paris just burst out from the pages.
Planning a trip to Paris for the first time? I recommend reading this book to learn what you may encounter. If you have visited Paris, you may relate to some her feelings. Even if you don’t fall in love with Paris, you’ll fall in love with Yunker’s passion.
Though I didn’t fall in love with Paris, I fell in love with Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Ways. Maybe if I visit again and spend more time in Paris, I too will get accustomed to her ways.