Brooklyn in Love | Life Before, Life After

I would like to consider myself a devoted Francophile/New Yorkaise(ish), so when I saw that Amy Thomas published Brooklyn in Love, I was so excited to get a taste of her journey in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It seemed fitting that Brooklyn in Love came out when so many people were continuing to leave Manhattan in droves for the wider, greener spaces of Brooklyn —Williamsburg, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and everywhere else. I remember when Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls aired and watching Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna run amok Greenpoint and Manhattan—their journey was as dysfunctional as it was entertaining.

Thankfully, Thomas leads a more relatable life and happily indulges her sweet tooth like the rest of us.

From the author of Paris, My Sweet comes the story of a modern woman embracing love, motherhood, and all the courses life has to offer,

On an island where finding love can be just as hard as finding a dinner reservation on a Friday night, Amy Thomas never imagined a family would fit into her lifestyle. So when Amy finds herself turning forty, moving to Brooklyn, and making way for a baby with a new man in her life, she realizes that starting over may be her biggest opportunity yet.

But how do you balance staying out all night dancing with staying up all night soothing a baby? Can a lifelong city girl trade in spontaneity for domesticity? Set amid the backdrop of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s foodie scenes, Amy sets out to make her second act even sweeter than the first.

A more grown-up story of “adulting” in New York, Thomas’s warm and honest approach to her storytelling assures the reader of a few things:

  1. Things do work out the way that they’re supposed to
  2. It’s only human to have doubts and concerns about the future
  3. It’s always worth traveling for good food
  4. But really, it’s worth leaving your neighborhood every once in a while and trying something new

After reading Brooklyn in Love, it made me reflect and take stock of my own personal life.

There were a few parallels in the book that I saw in my own life. Sure, I didn’t end up living in New York City or staying in Paris (I also don’t have children and I’m definitely far from ready) but rediscovering life after realizing that my Paris dream had changed—that my dream had changed—is something else.

I read Paris, My Sweet towards the last half of my college career—the book was one of many influences that pushed and poked at my desire to go to France. I didn’t do a full semester abroad like most of my friends, so I was worried that I wouldn’t have the chance to travel after graduation. I worked through my last summer as an undergraduate student in Newport, Rhode Island and earned enough to do a short-term winter study abroad in Paris. At the time, that trip helped me revive my blog and affirmed my love for Paris and French culture—I am so grateful for that time and freedom to see the world in a different way.

Less than eight weeks after I came back from the Parisian winter, I lost my second eldest brother. It was a few months away from my graduation. He and I had talked about traveling Europe the following summer. He always wanted to travel—one of his college friends was French and had moved back to Paris while another college friend was working in London. My brother also enjoyed learning Spanish and Spanish culture through high school and wanted to go there, too.

I spent three years in what I can only call a blurry, moving standstill—three-ish years of juggling different lives in Newport and suburban Connecticut while trying to make it in New York City before eventually adding Paris into the mix. Fast forward to the present and I’m more firmly rooted in suburbia again with a slightly less chaotic trajet between Rhode Island and New York City.

It’s interesting how we can describe our lives according to major life changes. Life before, life after. Life before Paris. Life after Paris. Before graduation. After graduation. Before loss. After loss.

Brooklyn in Love serves as a reminder that it’s possible to achieve what you want—keep believing in yourself and the love around you, then you’ll be more than fine.

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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