“Ludwig Bemelmans–legendary bon vivant and raconteur, and author of the Madeline stories as well as the surprise success of last year, Hotel Bemelmans–lived life like a character in a novel. Wherever Ludwig went and whatever he did–letting Parisian criminals baby-sit his daughter, getting caught with his toenails painted red by the Gestapo, or discovering the only restaurant with toilets in the Amazon Jungle–his escapades are guaranteed entertainment.
When You Lunch with the Emperor collects Bemelman’s work under the headings of Childhood, Work, and Play. Readers will enjoy their lunch with the Bemelmans!”
This was my traveling book that I took to Japan with me (so it got a nice bunch of miles) and I’m so glad that I brought it. It kept me company during the long flight there and during a long train ride in Japan on the way to visit the Great Buddha. It was so much fun to read a book about someone who traveled all over and had this incredible life, while being abroad.
First off, the story was fantastic. There was just so much going on and I had to keep reading to find out what disastrous thing happened next. Ludwig went through so much in his life and seeing it all recounted was just such an amazing story.
There was food talked about, different locations, traveling, high and low times in his life, and success and failure. It was so impressive to read because Ludwig just struggled and struggled, doing well and then failing but he never gave up. It was amazing to see his resilience.
I think the other thing that I loved was the fact that there were pictures now and then, drawn in the famous style that you see in Madeline. It was a surprise to be reading and reading and then suddenly get a page with pictures. It’s extremely rare in adult books and just added a little surprise to the book, which I loved.
This wasn’t exactly a difficult read. In total, I read it in a few days (it just seems longer because there was traveling in between).
When You Lunch With the Emperor is one of those books that is hard to review by talking about the story, because it’s technically nonfiction (as far as I’m aware there was nothing fantasy in the story). It’s an experience book, but it reads like an epic tale. I highly recommend reading it if you’re looking for something unique and different. This 100% fits the bill.
I’d give this book a 5 out of 5 teacups because I absolutely loved it!
Have you read it? What do you think?