Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble
by Alexis Hall
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date Not set
From the bestselling author of Boyfriend Material comes a sweet and scrumptious romantic comedy about facing your insecurities, finding love, and baking it off, no matter what people say.
Paris Daillencourt is a recipe for disaster. Despite his passion for baking, his cat, and his classics degree, constant self-doubt and second-guessing have left him a curdled, directionless mess. So when his roommate enters him in Bake Expectations, the nation’s favourite baking show, Paris is sure he’ll be the first one sent home.
But not only does he win week one’s challenge—he meets fellow contestant Tariq Hassan. Sure, he’s the competition, but he’s also cute and kind, with more confidence than Paris could ever hope to have. Still, neither his growing romance with Tariq nor his own impressive bakes can keep Paris’s fear of failure from spoiling his happiness. And when the show’s vicious fanbase confirms his worst anxieties, Paris’s confidence is torn apart quicker than tear-and-share bread.
But if Paris can find the strength to face his past, his future, and the chorus of hecklers that live in his brain, he’ll realize it’s the sweet things in life that he really deserves.
Content guidance: Main character with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder (that does get diagnosed), on page panic attack, hospital stay due to panic attack, treatment plan for anxiety disorder discussed, emotionally-unavailable parents, very graphic swearing, cyberbullying, religious and racial microaggressions, Islamophobia (challenged).
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Average rating from 290 members
In this season of Winner Bakes All, Alexis weaves humor and human-ness in the typical manner I’ve come to expect from all his writing—this time touching on anxiety and loneliness, religion and identity and healthy boundaries with careful kindness and intention. (I underlined so many things.)
Paris is a mess and I want to adopt him. Tariq carries himself with inspiring confidence, and I just want to BE him. And I wouldn’t turn down a cookie from either of them.
Another exquisite read from Alexis Hall. I loved Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (the 1st in this series), and, of course, Boyfriend Material. This series is a perfect parody of a certain baking show and its associated personalities -- the comedian host and the perpetually sweary producer are just fantastically hilarious and the array of contestants is just spot on also. (Does any one else feel like he's taken Rahul, from 2018's GBBO and kind of split Rahul's ridiculously cute, depressed, insecure, baking genius personality into 2 characters, given them both his heart of gold & built on from there?)
One of my favorite things about a good romance is intelligent banter and this book has it - there are witty jokes, references and allusions to all kinds of things from classical art to Pride & Prejudice to the political leanings of the BBC, British culture, and a well placed jab at Piers Morgan that are hilarious and clever.
A description of one of the bakes as
"like the Cuban Missile Crisis in biscuit form."
On seeing Paris' flat, Tariq says:
"I didn't mean to go all Elizabeth Bennet at you. Remember, I agreed to this date before I saw your magnificent grounds at Pemberley."
A definition of memes by a character as:
"It's what people my age have instead of well-paying jobs in a stable economy."
And soooo many more. You have to read it all in context to get the full experience.
As in Rosaline Palmer, some really important social, cultural and mental health issues come to the fore & are dealt with in kind and understanding ways that maybe help break through some historic social norms. The portrayal of Paris's severe anxiety is well illustrated with his speaking in hesitant sentence fragments and the well-worn internal monologue of self-destructive paths his mind forces him to re-tread until they are deep ruts -- I get that that is part of what he's dealing with, the relentlessness of these thought patterns & their effect on his life, but my only complaint is that as the book goes on, this becomes too repetitive at times when reading.
Even the book club questions at the end are hilarious - e.g. "Do lemon shortbread and vanilla shortbread count as two different kind of biscuit? If so why?" (treading into Jaffa Cake territory there...) and "Favourite '80s movie? Favourite '80s band?"
Over all, really enjoyed it, can't wait for the next installment in the Winner Bakes All series. Luckily, we have Husband Material coming out in a few days' time to tide us over.
So I've absolutely devoured this in 2 days much like Rosaline's book I thought this was a rather excellent read that not only showcases baking,m and reality tv, but mental health struggles, the LGBTQ+ community, character with depths that go beyond the surface.
I freaking loved this book and I've already preordered it bc I need a physical copy.
As someone who has dealt with GAD for their entire life, seeing myself in Paris and having many of his reactions be reminiscent of my own made me dig into this book so much deeper.
Thank you to GCP and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
CW: MC with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder (that does get diagnosed), on-page panic attack, hospital stay due to panic attack, treatment plan for anxiety disorder discussed, Islamophobia (challenged), religious and racial microaggressions, emotionally unavailable parents, cyberbullying.
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