David Lebovitz is an amazing pastry chef who not only writes cookbooks, but shares his life in Paris. If you want the real scoop, get one or more of his books.
I love the idea of France. I hear people complaining (dear old dad included) complain about the attitude of the French. A lot of Americans say the French are livid about us not using their language when in France. I totally get the French’s point though. Americans want people to speak English when they are in America, but we want to use English in their country with no complaints. What’s up with that?
I seem to feel a kindred spirit with them. They love Jerry Lewis (at least they used to), and when I was younger, he was the one comedian I always watched. 😆 There is this elegance about them that I never could understand. Pais is beautiful. And there all kinds of food markets and stores that specialize and are experts in one item. I would love to find that in my area. Maybe I belong in France. Who knows?
And every diy home goddess knows about my love of cooking. I found a blog by accident that gave me the best of both cooking and France. David Lebovitz wrote that blog. He lives in France and cooks all kinds of food, but specializes in desserts, which most chefs don’t like to make. The blog and Chef David speak to me.
A new book came out a few months ago that I insisted on getting for my birthday. ‘L’appart, The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home’. It’s all about him buying and renovating an apartment (I think he was referring to what we in America call condominiums, but I’m not sure). And you know the diy home goddess needs to know about renovations.
David Lebovitz’s Story, in Parts
L’appart is the story about Chef David Lebovitz’s purchase of a home and the renovation process.
- The first part discusses his search for the kind of L’Appart he wants.
- He spends a large section of the book on the renovation of the place, including dealing with his contractors.
- Throughout the book Chef Lebovitz talks about the search and purchase of things like appliances and furniture.
- And recipes included at the end of many of the short chapters.
- In addition, there are hints into the life in Paris. Parisian attitudes. The legal process.
Review of L’Appart, by David Lebovitz
A lot of book reviews people complain about poor writing. It isn’t “professionally written”. However, I’ve met lots of authors, and those who write nonfiction books tend to write how they speak. (as a side bar, they say that about Judge Mathis. I’ve met the man and read his book. His book is written like he talks). I’ve never met Chef David Lebovitz, but the writing I believe is how he speaks.
L’appart is very amusing. I mean, when the book starts with “Pee in this cup”, you got to realize it is different. 😯 He has learned over the years how to write comedy, which is a lot harder than one would think. As I read it, I felt like he was sitting at my dining room table with a cup of coffee and telling his story. It was an easy read, with French phrases thrown in, making it a teensy bit confusing. I know it would mess with the flow, but I wished he would have put the English in parentheses.
The first part of the L’appart is about the process of purchasing property in France. It was surprising to see what the hoops one has to go through to purchase property. There’s a lot of dry and yet entertaining detail. Chef David Lebovitz does a lot of comparing the process in America to the process in France. I can’t imagine some of the things that has to happen. Writing on the check the city where the purchase was made is crazy. And your lawyer has to read the purchase contract out loud. I would so fall asleep in five minutes. Do you think American zoning laws are rough? Try French rules!
During the renovation section, he discusses the trials of dealing with contractors. This showcases the most wild characters imaginable. But these are real people. Some would say these contractors and workers can’t be real; he had to make this up. They were way out there. There was rudeness, laziness, and sometimes a lack of knowledge. I cannot imagine keeping my temper, like he described he did. I would have lost my temper rather quickly. It was impressive how he handled everything. If you don’t believe he wrote about real people, you’ve never had any work done in your house.
I had a bubble on my powder room wall because of a leak from the bathroom above. I was faced with shoddy workmanship from a repair when I bought the house. When the contractor opened the wall, he laughed and asked if he could take pictures. The original repair for a leaky pipe was to close it with epoxy and wrap the pipe with a rag. In 4 years, the rag had soaked and the bubble started. True story.
So yeah, I believe the renovation process he had to deal with. I wished he’d highlighted his boyfriend’s involvement more. Romain seemed like the backbone of the couple, because he is Parisian, and knows how to deal with them. It was quite entertaining to read about how his attitude helped. I don’t know if Romain could be showcased in the book more, but if he could, he should have.
That being said, his descriptions were written so well you could almost picture the scene of the rooms. He goes into great detail, so you know exactly what happened, iinstead of imagining and second guessing.
Dealing with shopping for furnishings and appliances was almost unbelievable, insane. I kept thinking he was making things up. It was almost like he was trying to add too much excitement. But, if you have a very specific idea of what you want and are determined, I can see not giving up.
I felt the recipes fit the various chapters, as they were related in some way to that chapter. And I liked the introduction to the recipes.
In conclusion, the book is well written, like two friends chatting over dinner. Some of the stories seemed a little out there. There is no question the drama was real and shows all renovations aren’t easy or perfect. I give this book 4.7 stars.
Do You Want More on David Lebovitz?
Check out his website.
You can buy his books on his website or on Amazon.