Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in southern France with one goal: she doesn t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious. As Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and obvious communication disorder from her new family, she must ultimately choose whether or not she ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.
The French ImpressionistFeatured
What I Liked:
This is the first time I read a book where the main character has a communication disorder and it was interesting to learn about it along with how the character handles it. Rosemary's struggle is that when she tries to speak, her words come out tangled and not always understandable. She even practices in her head exactly what she's going to say in an effort to get it right, but most often than not, it still doesn't come out the way she wants them to. This impediment is something that weighs heavily on her and what drives her to do the stuff she does in this book, yet I like how it doesn't stop her from having a lively personality, the need to learn and practice a foreign language, or to try out new things.
I also enjoyed The French Impressionist's setting. This book takes place in the beautiful city of Nice, France, where there's a perfect balance of old and modern architecture, a great deal of sunshine, and vibrant shops and markets. It was a true joy to explore this colorful city in Rosemary's shoes, especially Sylvie and Emile's shop and apartment. It was a nice change visiting a different destination in France!
What didn't do it for me:
Most of the characters in The French Impressionist are likeable and/or interesting, but I had a hard time accepting Rosemary's mother and her boyfriend. Mostly because I feel that they deserve another ending and not the "nice" one they get. At least her mother since her attitude is simply unacceptable, despite her reasons.
And, while I did like Rosemary, I can't deny the fact that in some parts she disappoints me too. It's just that her need to keep hold of her freedom makes her say and do stuff that are not okay at all, making it too hard to pass them up for young age. I expected more from her.
There are a few things that I disagree about in The French Impressionist, but I still had a great time reading it. The writing is great and the story is quite vivid—great read for a day at the beach!