cover image Pancakes in Paris

Pancakes in Paris

Craig Carlson. Sourcebooks, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3212-2

Carlson’s sweet and entertaining memoir details how a former Hollywood screenwriter opens an American diner in Paris and lives happily after. Of course there is more to the story, and Carlson does an admirable job of recounting his rocky childhood, the numerous strange connections to France during his early life, and what these events ultimately revealed to him about his life. Carlson works on a film in Paris, returns to Los Angeles, meets with friends for breakfast, and, while staring down at his plate of pancakes, has a revelation. “At that moment, I knew exactly what I wanted to do—no, had to do next: open an American diner in Paris.... There are few moments in life that are so lucid.” Carlson recounts drafting a business plan, the toil of raising funds, and the drudgery of temp work for Disney in order to make ends meet. Finally Carlson moves to Paris in 2002, opening his authentic American diner, Breakfast in America. Carlson successfully wades through convoluted French bureaucracy and employment regulations, and though developing his dream diner takes its toll, it ultimately offers emotional rewards. Carlson’s narrative is an inspirational, tasty trip through one man’s delightful and hard-won success. (Sept.)