Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton
Simon & Schuster | Paperback, 209 pages
Publication Date: August 14th, 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
This is a memoir for anyone who has ever fallen in love in Paris, or with Paris. Paris: A Love Story is for anyone who has ever had their heart broken or their life upended.
In this remarkably honest and candid memoir, award-winning journalist and distinguished author Kati Marton narrates an impassioned and romantic story of love, loss, and life after loss. Paris is at the heart of this deeply moving account. At every stage of her life, Paris offers Marton beauty and excitement, and now, after the sudden death of her husband Richard Holbrooke, it offers a chance for a fresh beginning. With intimate and nuanced portraits of Peter Jennings, the man to whom she was married for fifteen years and with whom she had two children, and Richard, with whom she found enduring love, Marton paints a vivid account of an adventuresome life in the stream of history. Inspirational and deeply human, Paris: A Love Story will touch every generation.
I don’t read a lot of memoirs or biographies like I used to do. It’s a genre that I’ve neglected simply because I’ve gotten a taste for fiction. This is one of those impulse buy, as most of my books in Adult Fiction genre. It was sitting on display for “Great Valentine’s Reads” at my local bookstore and didn’t really know at the time that I was picking up a memoir until I got home and started to read a couple of pages. To my surprise, I soon realize that I’ve read a couple of chapters in no time. So I figured, I might as well keep going.
This book is a story about a woman’s two loves in her lifetime. She’s still alive. They’re both dead. It tells a story about a successful, well-loved man but behind closed doors, he’s an insecure, jealous being. It also tells a story about a political figure loved by the current government who’d waited for her while she was going through a difficult separation. It’s a story about journalism, most specifically broadcasting. At the time when she was first starting out, women had a tougher time trying to score primetime news assignments. From Ayatollah Khoemeini, to the fall of the wall of Berlin, she covered it all. But the toughest assignment she’s had to face was salvaging her married life with Peter Jennings. They never seem to be in the same country at the same time, sometimes, not even in the same continent. Peter is also the most insecure person she’d ever known. Fifteen years after they married, and after two children, they divorced. There was infidelity involved.
Then she met Richard Holbrooke, a political figure who’s more recent assignment was being an adviser to Pakistan and Afghanistan relations. Theirs was a wedded bliss. He doted on her – he was perfect. But Kati Marton is not a perfect woman. She’s been unfaithful to both her deceased husbands. I tried to understand what would drive a woman to cheat on both occasions but to no avail. She claims to be apologetic. On both times, both husbands forgave her. It was difficult to reconcile this book as love stories. I just don’t see anyone claiming to love their spouses and then cheating on them during the course of their relationship. Do I sound judgemental? Perhaps. To be honest, she was more in love with Paris than the men in her life. Because her love for that city and all its elegance and idiosyncrasies was almost poetic. If she was ever faithful to anything or anyone, she’s at least faithful to that city.
As much as I had problems with Kati, there was one thing that really hit me while reading this book. It was the story of how she lost Richard, and how difficult it was to try and live after such a loss. The debilitating pain and realization that one moment you were talking to him or her on the phone and the next, you’re packing up your house because it bore too many painful memories.