I really wanted to like it more than I did ...

Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris - Edmund White

I am a big fan of memoirs, and Paris is one of my favorite cities on the planet. Thus, I thought "Inside a Pearl" would be a perfect mix of things I love.

Unfortunately, Edmund White's memoir felt more like a name-dropping party than a memoir. He made a big point in every single chapter of talking about rich and famous people whom he met at various dinner parties.

This was not the only reason I found the book disappointing; White is an openly gay man who was living in Paris at the beginning of the AIDS crisis. He is also one of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis Center, so I expected to find out more about what things were like in the earliest days of this event. What I found was a man in denial, who was still unsafely promiscuous. Perhaps this was more common in the early days of AIDS than I realized, even given the large number of gay friends I have had since long before that time; it's hard to say, from an outside perspective. But between the "here's who I bonked" catalogue and "here's who I dined with," this book felt like a shallow look at what should have been deeper issues.