“French Exit” by Patrick Dewitt-Review

By: Kota


A realistic and heartfelt comedy, French Exit is bound to draw you in. Written by Patrick Dewitt, this novel will make you laugh and cry and gain a new perspective on both wealth and mortality. 

Witty yet dark, humorous yet sobering, Patrick Dewitt’s French Exit is a must-read that shows the ups, downs, and oddities of a certain mother-son relationship. Aptly named, French Exit is the tale of what happens when mother Frances and son Malcolm become bankrupt and escape to Paris. Right with them is a character who later becomes my favorite, Frances’ independent cat, whom she swears is a reincarnation of her husband. With Frances’ egotistical attitude and Malcolm’s childish ways, this book is a rollercoaster from start to finish. I enjoyed the insight into what it would be like to flaunt the last of my money marching around Paris, taking in the sights and later becoming engrossed in life after money. The character developments, even that of the cat’s, are ones to be praised as well. Heralded as a classic dark comedy, Dewitt creates an exciting, hilarious, and of course, a sometimes sad situation out of something anyone could experience- poverty. 

Introducing Kota, Our Newest Reviewer!

It’s been a few months since we last shook things up over here, and now we’re doing it again!

To learn more about Kota Whitacre, check out her official bio over at our “Meet Us” page.

For fun, though, we thought we’d introduce Kota with one of those silly book surveys – like the type people do on social media, but with all bookish questions.

Kota and Loki

Author you’ve read the most books from: Shari Lapena

Currently Reading: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Drink of Choice While Reading: Black tea

E-reader or Physical Book? Physical

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Percy Jackson

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Animal Farm– George Orwell

Hidden Gem Book: The Shore of Women-Pamela Sargent

Important Moment in your Reading Life: The very first time I stepped into a library as a child

Just Finished: Miss you-Kate Eberlen

Number of Bookcases You Own: 3

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: The Girl With All the Gifts-M.R Carey

Preferred Place To Read: In bed with my dog

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: The Rosie Project– Graeme Simsion, French Exit-Patrick Dewitt, Miss you- Kate Eberlen

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting more than one book at once

Your latest book purchase: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- Ken Kesey

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): The Stranger– Harlan Coben

Look for Kota’s first review soon!

Success! You're on the list.

Brittany Takes on NaNoWriMo 2020

What Is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.

NaNoWriMo officially became a nonprofit organization in 2006, and our programs support writing fluency and education. Our website hosts more than a million writers, serving as a social network with author profiles, personal project libraries, and writing buddies. NaNoWriMo tracks words for writers like Fitbit tracks steps, and hosts real-world writing events in cities from Mexico City, to Seoul, to Milwaukee with the help of 900+ volunteers in thousands of partnering libraries and community centers like… well, like nothing else.

NaNoWriMo is internet-famous. It’s community-powered (hello, Wrimos!). It’s hosted authors drafting novels like Water for Elephants, WOOL, and Fangirl. It’s a teaching tool and curriculum taught in 5,920 classrooms, and NaNoWriMo’s programs run year-round.

Whatever you thought NaNoWriMo is, it’s more than that.

For as long as I could remember I wanted to be a novelist. I’ve started and stopped so many stories in my life. I’ve played scenarios and scenes in my head for years without writing them down. I’ve told myself I’ll do NaNoWriMo year after year, but I’ve yet to stick with it after a week.

But this year I will do it! This year I will complete my NaNoWriMo! And I will take you all along with me.

The Plan

So, what I’m planning to do to help me write my novel will be to stream it. I’ve started streaming on Twitch this past month or so and have enjoyed it. My goal is to stream an hour or so of my daily NaNoWriMo and treat myself with a game stream like I’ve been doing. I won’t wholly be writing the novel on stream as I work best with pen and paper, so most of the stream will me my typing up what I’ve written.

I also will be sharing my working document with you all so you can join me on this journey. Since I’m utilizing Google Docs you as a read will be able to commentate on the document itself and give me suggestions and critiques.

I will be giving a weekly update on my word count and some commentary on the writing process. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter as I’ll be tweeting when I’m online streaming as well as other NaNoWriMo related things during November as well.

What will the novel be about?

I’m planning on writing some shorter stories in the New Adult Romance genre. I hope to spend a week on each couple’s story, but if one couple monopolizes my creative juices they will get more screen time. At this time I don’t have an outline, nor characters plotted out so it will be ever evolving over the month of November.

“New Adult fiction bridges the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 25 with the cap at 30ish.

The genre tends to focus on issues prevalent in the young adult genre as well as focusing on issues experienced by individuals between the area of childhood and adulthood, such as leaving home for university and getting a job.

New adult is typically considered a subcategory of adult literature rather than young adult literature.”

According to Goodreads:

Some of my Inspiration

Kiriska’s 2020 NaNoWriMo calendar provides daily inspiration as well as a word count goal


Challenge Accepted: Angie’s first mission


If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably seen memes poking fun at buying “too many books.” It’s a habit some of us have, even if we have a bunch piled up that we haven’t read yet.

When I think about the idea of “Reading Our Shelves,” that’s what it makes me think of: the idea that I need to tackle some of the books already on my shelf (or my TBR list) before I dig into more new ones! 

To that end, I went through my collection this weekend. My mission was to find at least 6 books of the same genre that I hadn’t read yet. I would give myself the challenge, for the purpose of this blog, to read 6 books in 6 months that were already on my shelves. I found that I had a plethora of biographies (some autobiographies, some not) on hand, so I am going to pull from this pile for this challenge.

So many biographies to choose from…

I’ve also created a shelf on Goodreads of the biographies (and memoirs) I’ve read already, if anyone is interested.

I’d love for you to join me!  Ok, you don’t have to read the same books I’ll be reading.  But give yourself the challenge of going through your shelves and digging out the things you meant to read and haven’t made time for yet.  Let me know if you uncover anything exciting!

Meet Us!

Brittany Lewis, Co-Founder

About me? My name is Brittany and I work as a 1:1 paraeducator in a self-contained special education classroom. I work in a middle school. Everyday is different and everyday is an adventure. This means that every night I need to unwind and my way of unwinding is reading. By reading I mean laying down and putting on an audiobook because I am too tired to read, but the book gets exciting and wakes me up so I can’t sleep. Reading, it’s a double-edged sword . . .

Lots of the book I read are YA, but lately I’ve gotten into Adult Romance novels because Jay McClean hooked me in with her “More Than” series which lead me down a rabbit whole with Penelope Douglas, and now I’m reading Erin Watt’sRoyals” books. . . A bit of a mixed bag with some of those, but overall I’m enjoying the change from reading only Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfeld – who I will love forever and can’t wait for their next books to come out.

I started Reading Our Shelves to challenge myself to think more critically about what I’m reading rather than just moving onto a new book after I finish my current one. I keep my Goodreads up-to-date and give star ratings, but I don’t write why I thought that. That’s were Reading Our Shelves comes in. Nisha and I will go through out Goodreads shelves – and our real bookshelves – and put those thoughts behind the stars out there for others to read and ultimately enjoy.

Thank you for joining us on this journey and if there’s a book on your shelf you want us to try leave it in the comments 🙂

Nisha Gode, Co-Founder

My name is Nisha. I work as a coder at an IT company. I’ve loved to read ever since I could get my hands on books. My mom would take me to the library so much that they knew my name. I could never get into audiobooks. They make me so bored, because I have to sit in one place and just listen. My mind tends to wander. I can only listen to them while driving.

My first two favorite series ever were “Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne and “The Babysitters Club” by Ann M. Martin. There was something magical about a traveling treehouse that can take you to different places in time. It might be why I have such a love of history as well. TBC was all about a group of girls being friends and running a business. I loved reading about their adventures. I primarily read YA novels and comic books.

Brittany and I have always seemed to share a lot of the same books, so the idea for this blog made a lot of sense. I usually have small reviews written from all the highlights I take in my iBooks, but I never remember to post them to Goodreads, so mine is also full of just stars and reading lists. Reading Our Shelves will hopefully force me to remember to talk about them publicly and what better way than with a friend.

Angie Haddock, Reviewer & Social Media Maven

Hello my name is Angie. I read a lot as a tween/teen, and then stopped reading for fun when I was in college.  A lot of us probably go through that “burned-out” phase. It took me a while to get back into it.  In my mid-twenties, I spent a lot of time in the wicked worlds of Gregory Maguire, or with the snappy dialog of Elmore Leonard. I credit two books for turning me on to non-fiction: “Life Itself” by Roger Ebert and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

Now I read a lot of non-fiction: memoirs/biographies, self-help, spiritual, socio-political stuff, and a few books about parenting/kids. I also still read fiction, to keep myself sane – historical fiction, sci-fi, and diverse literature are some favorites. Feel free to take a look at my Goodreads!

Other loves include watching soccer, drinking tea, eating ice cream, and doing yoga.

Kota Whitacre, Reviewer

About Kota: Originally from San Francisco, I moved to Washington state at the age of 12. Reading has been a passion and hobby of mine for as long as I can remember. Even before I could read, I was pretending to, to an audience of stuffed animals.

I am currently in college, with a plan to major in English and minor in philosophy. My dream is to be a travel writer, or a book critic. When I’m not reading or doing school work, I like to explore nature with my pit mix Loki. 

Though I tend to read mainly mystery/thrillers, I hope to expand. I have so many books I can’t wait to read, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you.

Welcome to Reading Our Shelves

This is a book review blog. Our authors Brittany and Nisha love to read and to talk about what they’ve read. That love gave birth to Reading Our Shelves. Our goal is to go through our shelves and read as many as we can and share our opinions with you. There’s so many books out there and we’re here to help you chose which ones to add to your own shelf.

Success! You're on the list.