“The small, slender woman with apple-red cheeks, greying hair, and shrewd, almost naughty little eyes sat with her face pressed against the cabin window of the BEA Viscount on the morning flight from London to Paris. As, with a rush and a roar, it lifted itself from the runway, her spritis soared aloft with it. She was nervous, but not at all frightened, for she was convinced that nothing could happen to her now. Hers was the bliss of one who knew that at last she was off upon the adventure at the end of which lay her heart’s desire.”
Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico
Mrs. Harris is a cleaning lady who is happy to clean the houses of her London clients but one day while tidying up the house of one Lady, she comes across a Dior dress. It is the most beautiful dress she has ever seen and so starts her quest to posses one. She learns that this will cost her $468 pounds, plus there is also the matter of going to Paris to get her dress but she is determined to have her gala dress.
After all, owning such a creation at such a ridiculous amount of money would mean that there is nothing left upon earth that she could desire. So, Mrs. Harris begins to save her money. She scrimps on little pleasures, like going to the movies with her friend and fellow cleaning lady, Mrs. Butterfield and she even takes to gambling a bit.
After years she has saved enough money and is on her way to Paris. Of course that is where adventure really awaits her as she comes to understand that one just doesn’t walk into Dior and gets a dress off the rack, there is a process and tradition of how things are done.
This was quite a charming little story. I particularly liked that Mrs. Harris was not daunted by any of the obstacles that came her way and I enjoyed her interactions with the people she meets in Paris and how they all learn to help one another. It was a bit like a little fairy tale.
Though quite a light read I do think the book makes you think about what your heart desires. Is there really one thing you would like and would you be happy once you got it? Would all the hardships and obstacles be worth it and/or forgotten once you attained your goal?
Source: Personal copy