Title: Champagne Baby
Author: Laure Dugas
Publication Date: 4/12/16
How I Found It: Penguin's First to Read program
Date Completed: 4/26/16
Summary: Any lover of food/travel memoirs is familiar with the troupe in which an American (or Brit) moves to France and falls in love. Not in love with a person, necessarily, but with the food and the culture and the country. Laure Dugas' turned the experience on its head when she moved to NYC from France.
What I Thought: I really enjoyed Dugas' twist on the classic travel memoir. Her perspective as a European coming to live and start a career in America is certainly unique in comparison to the many memoirs I have read written by Americans going to live overseas. Her point of view is especially interesting as her time in the US occurs during the height of the Bush years - and when our relationship with the French was not quite as, uh, incroyable.
I found Dugas' journey really interesting. She moved to the US to work as a promoter for her uncle's wine. Despite growing up in France and in a wine-making family, she knew very little of the technical details about wine, so she learned on the go. Though that gig was only six months in length, she moved on to get other jobs within the industry and continued learning. The book follows her education not only in American life and culture, but also wine. While the chapters themselves focus on her career experiences, her newfound friendships, and her perspectives on American culture, each chapter ends with a couple pages devoted to sharing her wine knowledge. The world of wine is incredibly complex (Kevin watched Somm on Netflix one night when I was gone and still talks about how fascinating and intricate the culture of wine is), but Dugas breaks down some basics, particularly in regard to French wine, and makes things easy to understand whether you are a connoisseur or some one who has never had a glass.