13 May, 2009

Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson - book review

I've started reading Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson, not the well known (and staggeringly well written) blog (which I must admit I dip in and out of from time to time - especially now, as parenthood beckons), but the accompanying book...I mention it simply because it's so completely unlike any other blog books, most of the other ones I have read (Belle de Jour/Blood, Sweat and Tea - that sort of thing) have been simple collections of carefully selected posts, perhaps tidied up a bit, put into a logical order - in fact, exactly the sort of thing one would expect from a blog book - after all, the hard bit has already been done, it's just a matter of picking out the diamonds for publication...

This one is very, *very* different - to read it is almost like putting on a DVD with the directors commentary playing instead of the main soundtrack, it follows much of the history of what is covered in the blog, but written again completely from scratch - this time telling the truth about what really happened and deeply analysing both what she wrote on the blog and her motives for doing so, explaining what was going on in her mind, and in an incredibly brave move it also includes pointing out where she added embellishments to make posts seem more amusing or poignant...an example being the episode where she was left trying to set up the video conferencing system in the office ready for an important meeting and ended up giving a room full of executives a close up of her cleavage (a classic bit of comedy), in reality it was just one IT guy at the other end, still embarrassing, but nothing like as funny...it's refreshing, it's interesting, and it also explains why each of her posts was unfailingly entertaining - because they weren't necessarily entirely true - it's made me wonder just how many other blogs I read are just very slightly fictitious...anyway, it's a highly entertaining read, standing head and shoulders above it's competitors simply for it's unique perspective - to be recommended...

4 comments:

Ys said...

I suppose we're all guilty of slightly embellishing a story to make it sound funnier. I don't think I do it any more on my blog than in person ;) Actually I think I edit myself more now on the blog than I ever have.

The book sounds like a good one. I've honestly never read a blog-book before!

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Blog books are sort of useful if you want to blip in a prolific blogger's life/perspective and interesting highlights, skipping the days when they felt like they should blog but didn't really have much to say...good holiday reads...

And yes, embellishments are to be expected to a degree (I guess), but she is guilty of changing *lots* of details - it's good, if unexpected, of her to come clean...it's also nice to have an insight as to what was going on in her life during the split from her husband, because she couldn't talk about it on the blog for fear of him discovering what was going on... ;)

petite said...

Hi there

I'm glad you understood what I was trying to do - I've often described the book as a DVD with extra scenes and director's commentary myself.

However, I think - the odd embellished comedy incident aside - a lot of the time it was more a case of not daring to write about certain things (self-censorship) than actually about rewriting history. And, of course, the debate about whether blogging actually made me live life differently in order to have better stories to tell...

In general, there was a lot in there which I think will strike a chord with fellow bloggers - although (sadly) my publishers didn't want to emphasize these aspects on the cover and trod the chick lit route instead.

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Hrm, perhaps I should have anticipated this happening...

In response, blogging has actually done the same sort of thing to me, it's definitely moved me in a new direction (if only in a minor way, comparatively)...just to stop, consider and spend some time writing does have an amazing effect on temporal perception and awareness (slowing my hectic life down to a more manageable level)...

Your book is certainly not chick lit, although I don't dislike the cover, inside it's a brilliantly considered and (from what I can tell thus far) honest and completely original surgical analysis of what one is doing and thinking when one is blogging...and quite unique, entertaining, and engaging as a result...

Once again then - bravo - and thank you for the comment...love your writing... :)