Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott- A Book Review

A college student from South California finds herself living with a very patrician family in Paris for six months. She gets to experience a beautiful slice of life and learns a thing or two in the process. Ten years later the author is ready to share these lessons with the public. That's the premise of  Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott.

I've been an occasional reader of Jennifer L. Scott's blog, The Daily Connoisseur, for quite a while. It's been here on my blogroll for at least a couple of years, as I enjoy the little tidbits, ideas and advice peppered with some Parisian wisdom Scott gained while studying abroad. Earlier this year Scott published her first book, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris. The seeds of this book can be found all over the blog. The question was: how does it translates into a full-length narrative?

Sadly, not as well as I hoped. The book lacks in Paris stories and has far too much detail on the author's current Santa Monica life. I'd have loved more insight, anecdotes and detail about life in Paris and the intriguing existence of Famille Chic beyond the basic cliches offered. I get that the book is not about the family and its friends, but more conversations with these interesting characters would have done the book a world of good (Madame Chic's reaction to the America student's lounge-wear is priceless).  There's a lack of substance in the book that results in too many repetitions. Some of the ideas are good, such as focus on quality, pay attention to details, manners and etiquette do matter. Others are more eyebrow-raising (I'm sorry, but the ten piece wardrobe does not make sense to me or to my life in any way). The concept works much better in the blog and could have also made an excellent magazine article. I just don't see how the sweet experience of a foreign exchange student is enough to teach us how to live.

Bottom Line: read the author's blog instead.

Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott is available from Amazon. I paid $10.99 for the Kindle edition.

Illustration by Sophie Griotto via Trendland.


  1. Hi Gaia,

    I've followed your blog for years too. It's such a disappointment you didn't enjoy my book! But then again it's not for everyone. Wishing you happy holidays :)

    Jennifer Scott

  2. I agree with you Gaia.

  3. I have missed my calling! Why didn't write a book about my time as an exchange student? I could have titled it, "My Year in Berlin Has Given Me Deep Wisdom, Sophistication, and Understanding of High Culture That You Can Never Hope to Achieve, You Crude, Uncultured, Sweatpants-Wearing, Cheeseburger-Scarfing American." But of course Germany doesn't hold the same fascination for Americans that France does, so it would have a limited audience.

  4. Thanks for the review, I'm a reader of her blog as well, and have been wondering if to get this book or not. I still haven't decided though :)

  5. i like the book is not Kafka, easy to read and understand....

  6. How snarky are you! Sounds like envy.

  7. Lessons from Madame Chic is one of my favorite books, and I thought it was delightful to read. I have incorporated Jennifer's lifestyle changes into my life, and keep referring to the book for refreshers on things I've let slide. Its' popularity seems to keep growing and growing!

  8. I wish I saw this review before buying the book (used, but still). Bland, self-indulgent, and redundant.


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