Paris Without Her: A Memoir

Written by: Gregory Curtis | Book Review by: Marlene Caraballo
An honest and courageous memoir, Gregory Curtis’s Paris Without Her is an account of the author moving on after the loss of his wife. I expected to feel sorrowful as Curtis recounted the passing of his beloved wife Tracy after 35 years of marriage, but instead his words made me feel how much light she brought him. As anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one can attest, our memories are what we continue to embrace long after the physical presence has left us.
Curtis explores the past, present, and even his hopes for the future, all the while treating readers as if they’re dear friends sharing his journey. From his depictions of the good times he shared with his wife in Paris or of later experiencing those places without her, or of how he eventually explored a new relationship, I could sense both his agony and his optimism.
Even though the book’s title hints at pages filled with grief, Curtis depicts the days and years following his loss as more of an adventure. His openness to new experiences helps him continue to grow, evolve, and live fully and with enthusiasm, while always carrying memories of his wife close to his heart.
My takeaway was how much joy there can be in life, even after profound loss, if one is willing to be a flaneur. Curtis explains in the book how this French word is used to describe those who wander the streets of a city without a goal, just taking in all its precious and delicious existence. What a decidedly preferable and uplifting way to continue to experience life after loss.

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