The Last Time I Saw Paris
by Elizabeth Adler, contemporary (2002)
St Martin's Press, $6.99, ISBN 0-312-98030-2


My friend Hildy has a name for books like The Last Time I Saw Paris: beauty salon books. You know, the kind of books you read at the beauty salon, the dentist, between flights - short books with little depths that you can toss aside soon after. I'm kinder than her. I call books like this "Intestinal Gas".

Ridiculous, short, and as deep as the act of digging one's nostrils for gold, this is one of those books that seem to be written while the author was trying out her new toilet bowl. Heck, she probably doodled the plot on toilet paper and later submit the whole reel to the editor.

Lara Lewis, 45, is married to a man who is so obviously Mr Wrong that he may as well be the mirror of Lara's stupidity. Indeed, Lara behaves in this story like one of those porcelein icy princessy poor lil' rich Danielle Steele on crack heroines for the rest of the story. She tears on cue, she makes stupid decisions, and she is flatter than a cardboard.

In fact, Lara has no dreams, no hopes, no aspirations, nothing beyond making their 20th anniversary the best ever. She's so gorgeous, but she thinks she's plain. This braindead troll makes Ivana Trump look like... heck, I know Ivana Trump has some business savvy. Lara is just gas. She makes Anna Nicole Smith look like Hillary Clinton.

Unsurprisingly, the husband drops her for a better woman. Lara sobs and weeps like a howler monkey experiencing a difficult delivery, flees to some beach house, and sleeps with a 32-year old stud.

But good women don't do happy rebounds, see? So Lara howls and weeps that oh, now she will never win Dan's love because Dan is like, so young, and she's so useless and weak and stupid and... oh, oh, oh! As for Dan, well, he's all toothless, personality-free, the Mahatma Gandhi of Penises existing only to boost our heroine's ego. He knows that her husband cheats on her, but he also knows that he can never have her love because she loves her husband! Not he, but the cheating husband.

Set mostly in Paris, our two dim-witted lobotomized gnats mope and whine and declare ridiculously corny lines about love and sugar and Paris and all other nonsense guaranteed to make the French hate American tourists even more than ever. In two weeks, they are declaring love in wonderful gems like "I don't know what love is, but I love you!" or something equally asinine.

Seriously, I can't describe how one-note and linear this story is. Lara is like a robot - happy, happy, happy one moment, the next she'll burst into tears as if she's getting cues from a teleprompter. Than again, she did spend 25 years in denial in her marriage to a total jerk.

So yeah, read this for Paris, if you have to. I have a better time watching the Travel Network for Paris. Heck, they often have hunky actors doing the traveling, like that cute episode of Ewan McGregor and the polar bears (not in Paris, naturally). There are no dingbats in the Travel Network, only hunks in shorts displaying their nice, nice thighs and... uh, where was I?

Rating: 41


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