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Petite Anglaise, by Catherine Sanderson


Site: http://www.petiteanglaise.com/




Métro, boulot, dodo


Antonia Quirke


Published 03 April 2008


Petite Anglaise: a True Story
Catherine Sanderson Michael Joseph, 352pp, £12.99


Eighteen months ago Catherine Sanderson, a Yorkshire-born thirtysomething secretary, was living in Paris writing a blog, under the pseudonym Petite Anglaise, that 3,000 people logged on to read every day. She had an affair with a fan and blogged about it. She left her long-term French boyfriend Mr Frog and blogged about it. She was sacked from her job because of the blog (now taking 30,000 hits an hour) and was followed around by journalists and publishers until she wrote this memoir. Which has no blogging in it.

As Petite Anglaise contains only four discrete extracts from Sanderson's original blog, it comes over like a biography written by someone not granted permission to quote from the subject's actual estate - someone who looked at a few photos and spoke to the housekeeper before the incident with the rifle. The book feels bizarrely remote. Mr Frog, for example, is a complete mystery. Even before Catherine's affair, he vomits with anxiety every morning, has never in their decade-long relationship let a tear fall in front of his girl ("Was I about to see him cry for the very first time, I wondered, curious to hear what noise he would make, if he did") and only eats cold meat set out on pieces of paper around him while lying prone on the sofa. On the upside, he once called the pregnant Catherine "mon écrin" - my jewellery case - which makes you rather dig his style.

Sanderson ditches Mr Frog for a fan of her blog, an Englishman called James, who in bed says things like: "I want to build you a house with my bare hands and carry you over the threshold." Out of bed he says, "You've got a lot on your plate," and hurries back to his studio in Normandy. Catherine complains about James's fugwash jeans and lack of affection for her and Mr Frog's infant daughter Tadpole, but any teeming rants are drowned out by the sound of Sanderson climbing into her Romantic Novelist suit and doing the zip up.

And Jeez, the folderol. This is a world where trays are "plonked", clothes are "thrown" on, cars "screech" to a standstill, folding high chairs are "snapped", cushions are "plumped", briefcases are "flung down", phones "vibrate energetically" and "tight balls of dread" form in the heroine's stomach; and on the final page she has a "sudden blinding flash of clarity" and understands that her future is not so bleak after all, allowing her to exit with a curtsy. Petite Anglaise feels like the first volume in a three-book deal, not something true that cuts through the guts from a girl with an ego pounding enough to break up her family in favour of a groupie and have a thousand strangers logging on to gobble her every juicy word while she does it.

Sanderson mentions that she once blogged "about seeing someone in the Métro kissing his girlfriend's hand as she gripped the pole near the doors and then realising he'd singled out the wrong hand . . ." That's more like it. And when she rejoices that after an afternoon in bed with James her body no longer feels like "an envelope I barely notice". Or marvels that, when taking down a letter dictated by her boss asking for documents to be signed and returned "in the usual" way, she typed "in the sensual".

Aw, Catherine, this is the girl we want to hang out with! The disturbo who rides the Métro with tears spurting out of her eyes listening to Gorecki by Lamb on her Walkman ("This could be heaven right here on earth"). The bulldozer who describes Mr Frog (the man to whom the book is dedicated!) as being "like my most favourite, most comfortable flat shoes" and yet who sits in bars on dates "keeping my body in check" with sexual desire, desperate to crack and dissolve. The dork who went to bed with the human turnip. The princess who responds to being dumped by said turnip - the dreaded James - by rolling around on the bed in pain for a bit, getting up, shuffling zombiewise to the computer, logging on, blogging her head off ("I am a rudderless boat turning in dizzy, uncomprehending circles"), and then sulkily disabling the function that allows her fans to respond and taking to her bed once more. We don't want Sanderson the writer, the sober creature mindful of the icebergian continents of plot and shape, continuity and career, thumping out 30 years of acceptably readable product. What a crock. We want the nutter. We want the blogger.

Antonia Quirke is the author of "Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers", published by HarperPerennial


Journal d'un avocat

Instantanés de la justice et du droit


Affaire Petite Anglaise : la victoire de la blogueuse.


Par Eolas, jeudi 29 mars 2007 à 13:48

Petite Anglaise a gagné son procès aux prud'hommes. Le Conseil vient de rendre son délibéré, et a condamné l'employeur de Petite Anglaise à lui payer presque 44.000 euros de dommages intérêts [1], outre 500 euros d'article 700, c'est à dire de frais d'avocat, et le remboursement aux ASSEDIC de six mois d'indemnité de chômage de Petite Anglaise.

Je n'ai malheureusement pas encore accès aux motifs du jugement, il faudra attendre quelques jours, probablement une quinzaine pour cela. Commentaire à venir.

Champagne, Petite ! And Champomy for Tadpole.


[1] 43.981,32 € précisément.


From: http://www.maitre-eolas.fr/2007/03/29/587-affaire-petite-anglaise-la-victoire-de-la-blogueuse

Commentaire: http://www.maitre-eolas.fr/2007/07/05/660-le-jugement-dans-l-affaire-petite-anglaise



NORTH AMERICA                               


The Gazette


A young englishwoman in Paris


In Petite Anglaise, catherine sanderson says she never suspected blogging would transform her personally and professionally, and turn her life upside down



Saturday, July 12, 2008



By Catherine Sanderson

Doubleday, 292 pages, $29.95


Anais Nin, one of the world's best-known diarists, said, "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." If Nin, an American who chronicled her "aventures" in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, were alive today, she'd have a blog. She'd also have competition in Petite Anglaise, a.k.a. Catherine Sanderson, a British blogger living in Paris, whose online diary attracts a whopping 100,000 visitors monthly.

In this book, Sanderson tells her story, sharing information that never made it onto her blog. A modern-day

Cendrillon, she was working as a secretary in Paris, living with a Frenchman and their infant daughter, when she first read about blogging. Its accessibility appealed to her:

"Anyone could create his or her own little outpost on the Internet in a matter of clicks." When Sanderson's boss wasn't looking, she started her own blog, never suspecting it would transform her professionally and personally, making her famous and turning her life upside down.

Anais Nin was being coy, of course. Writers who mine their personal lives for material don't just write to taste life twice. They also write in order to connect with others. That connection is even stronger in the blogging universe, where readers are encouraged to interact online by posting comments.

How does a blogger - one of many millions - acquire such a huge and loyal following? Sanderson's readership figures skyrocketed weeks after she launched her blog, when the Guardian, a British publication, recommended it to its online readers. But there are other reasons that help explain

Petite Anglaise's amazing success - all of them evident in this book.

For one thing, Sanderson writes well. Her simple, but evocative descriptions of Paris bring the city to life. She describes, for instance, the "elderly stall attendants ... drinking coffee from thermoses" on the rue de Seine; the cars parked "in typically Parisian, too-close-for-comfort ... style"; and in autumn, the "army of green-overalled street cleaners."

It helps, too, that Sanderson is candid about her personal life and willing to disclose her own foibles. When her relationship with the French boyfriend she calls "Mr. Frog," sours, she turns - where else? - to her blog. Mr. Frog is too focused on his career; their sex life has gone down the drain.

It doesn't take a fortuneteller to predict what will happen next: One of Petite's readers falls for her. An online flirtation leads to an assignation. Sanderson will have to decide whether to follow her heart and risk domestic upheaval. Complicated, yes, but all good grist for a blog.

There's more. Sanderson's blog and this book are as much about writing as they are about Paris and love gone wrong. Through her blog, Sanderson discovers she is not just a girlfriend, a mother and a secretary; she is also a writer. She certainly possesses a trait most writers share - she can't stop writing. Sanderson relies on writing to make sense of herself: "Here was a way to process my thoughts and emotions, a safe place to get my frustrations out of my system. ... My negative feelings often evaporated ... as soon as I pressed 'publish.' "

Through blogging, Sanderson reinvents herself: "My online persona was wittier and sexier than I could ever hope to be. Petite Anglaise's words were scripted and edited, her every move choreographed, whereas in real life I often stumbled over my words and my humour was as hit-and-miss as the next person's."

This is a book about falling in love with a city, a man, and writing itself. In each case, there are complications.

When Sanderson's heart is breaking, for a time, not even the City of Light can console her. The online suitor turns out to be less than perfect. Even writing has its obstacles. Mr. Frog complains she is "repackaging our life into some sort of soap opera." Sanderson acknowledges she sometimes relies too much on her blog, living less fully offline.

The danger with blogs - like diaries - is they can easily descend into self-absorbed navel gazing. That doesn't happen here. Though Sanderson writes about her personal experience, she touches on larger issues. Readers will relate to her struggle to find her city, her true love and her calling.


Monique Polak's latest novel for young adults is 121 Express. She writes a blog, too, at http://moniquepolak.com - though she doesn't get quite as many visitors as Petite Anglaise, at http://petiteanglaise.com.




Jueves, 27/3/2008


Literatura con muchos bites

La 'blogera' Catherine Sanderson publica su bitácora

MARÍA OVELAR - Madrid - 17/03/2008


"Ella es más sexy, ingeniosa y atractiva. Petite Anglaise es una versión mejorada de mí". Catherine Sanderson no escatima piropos cuando habla de su yo virtual. Y eso que su narrador digital ha puesto su vida patas arriba. Se las apañó para que la despidieran en 2006, consiguió seducir a un guapo traductor inglés, y la armó de valor para engañar y abandonar al padre de su hija.

"No me arrepiento. No cambiaría ni una coma de lo que escribí", asegura con la misma rotundidad con la que vapulea las teclas de su ordenador desde julio de 2004, cuando fundó su bitácora, Petiteanglaise.com. Un blog con un fondo rosa que devoran unos 100.000 internautas al mes, y que en 2006 alcanzó las 40.000 visitas diarias para conocer las ofertas de las editoriales.

"Me agasajaron. Los responsables de Penguin me dieron la bienvenida con una ración de fish and chips envuelta en papel de periódico. Se habían leído hasta el último rincón de mi bitácora y sabían lo mucho que echaba de menos el plato inglés", relata Catherine Sanderson, de 35 años y natural de Yorkshire (Inglaterra). Finalmente, la editorial británica se llevó el gato al agua: un jugoso contrato de 653.163 euros para publicar 20.000 copias de un libro basado en el blog y una futura novela de ficción. La obra Petite Anglaise. In Paris. In love. In trouble (En París. Enamorada. En problemas) se encuentra desde su publicación, el 6 de marzo, entre las 20 biografías más vendidas en la librería online Amazon. Un fenómeno comercial editado en Holanda y que en los próximos meses se difundirá en Italia, Alemania, Finlandia, Polonia, Israel, Islandia, Canadá y EE UU. Una autora que demuestra que los caminos para convertirse en escritor de éxito están cambiando.

"Me cautivó el estilo, la honestidad y la calidad de sus escritos", recuerda Sanderson por teléfono. "Belle de Jour, la bitácora de una prostituta londinense que ya ha vendido más de 100.000 libros, me enganchó. Y a los dos días abrí mi web", relata. "Mi vida era muy aburrida. Mi álter ego la llenó de emoción".

Amor, cuernos y escenas de cama; un cóctel infalible. La prensa británica empezó a llamarla "la Bridget Jones de París". Sanderson ventilaba sus conflictos laborales -como secretaria de la empresa de contabilidad Wilson Dixon-, sus problemas familiares -con sus padres, por su adopción, y con su hija, por "querer más a su padre"- y sus devaneos con un joven británico llamado James.

Literatura digital, ágil y algo deslenguada. Una autobiografía no exenta de narcisismo. Rubia, alta, delicada y de piel blanquísima, esta británica afincada en París desde hace 13 años, es lo que los franceses llaman "une petite anglaise" (inglesita). Un título sugerente con el que la licenciada en Filología Francesa y Alemana bautizó su blog. Una identidad online que no le ahorró escándalos sensacionalistas, ni celebridad. "Preservar mi anonimato, el de mis familiares y el de mi empresa fue siempre mi deseo", asegura. En el blog de la autora, su ex pareja responde al gracioso mote de Mr. Frog (señor Rana, apodo con el que los británicos se refieren a los franceses) y su hija, Tadpole (Renacuajo). Sin embargo, en abril de 2006 Wilson Dixon, la empresa para la que trabajaba desde hacía cuatro años, la puso de patitas en la calle. "Alegaron que mi web dañaba su imagen". Un aluvión de e-mails y comentarios la alentaron a llevar el caso ante los tribunales. La justicia le dio la razón y Sanderson se embolsó 44.000 euros como compensación. Suficiente para ir tirando. Para pagar la hipoteca de "mon petit appartement" -se le escapan continuamente términos en francés-; para pagar la educación de su hija. De sobra para que su cara angelical de bobo, o bourgoise bohème (burguesa bohemia, como Sanderson se autodefine) saltara a las páginas de los principales periódicos británicos y franceses (The Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, L'Express) y para que su voz se escuchara en las televisiones de medio mundo (BBC, CNN).

Trasladar el blog al papel no fue fácil. "Lo reescribí casi todo. E integré los comentarios de los internautas en el texto, como si fueran el coro del teatro griego. El blog estaba redactado a trompicones. La novela es más lineal".