I’m Mostly Here To Enjoy Myself: One Woman’s Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris

Penguin Life. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780593655757. $30. MEMOIR
MacNicol (No One Tells You This: A Memoir) contemplates the nature of connection and joy in this candid, intimate memoir that’s presented in the form of essays. When travel restrictions between the United States and Europe eased in 2021 after the peak of the COVID pandemic, MacNicol, craving interpersonal connection, took her usual yearly trip to Paris. In Paris, she reflected on the different types of connections she’s made—ranging from navigating French bureaucracy with strangers to dancing at an impromptu concert to trips with close friends, biking, swimming, and casual sex—and the happiness they yielded. She compares these experiences with the previous year’s situation, when COVID forced her to self-isolate in New York City. MacNicol, who describes herself as a middle-aged, unmarried, childless woman, argues that joy is difficult to find for her demographic, as society passes judgment or ignores women who identify the way she does. She uses culture and pop culture references—particularly art, film, and books—to enhance her narrative.
VERDICT A sensual and vibrant essay collection and memoir that spotlights the different types of connections people yearn for and enjoy.
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