RATING: 4 STARS
Linda Kovic-Skow’s dream is to become an international stewardess. Yet, one of the requirements of this job is that she must be bi-lingual – fluent English and at least one another language – preferably Spanish, French or German. Linda is determined to learn French and concocts a plan to make it happen. She applies for a job as an Au-Pair in France and learn French along the way. She lies on her application by stating she speaks French. She is hired and doesn’t reveal she isn’t fluent in French until she meets her future employers in person. Her future employers are a wealthy French family who live in a castle in the Loire Valley and aren’t amused to discover she isn’t fluent in French. Since no other Au-Pairs are available, they decide to let her stay, only if she attends French language courses in nearby Tours.
The story was interesting up until the end, when it ended abruptly,leaving many questions about her love interests. In order to find out what happens next, you need to buy her next book. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend in book publishing lately. The author should resolve the end of story, but leave some parts unresolved for a future book, not end the book in the middle of the ending. I deducted one star for this reason. Overall, French Illusions: My Story as an Au-Pair in the Loire Valley is an entertaining book.
STUFF PARISIANS LIKE: DISCOVERING THE QUOI IN THE JE NE SAIS QUOI BY OLIVIER MAGNY
RATING: 4 STARS
Stuff Parisians Like is a tongue-in-cheek look at Parisians and their idiosyncracies. Specifically, Magny makes fun of “BCBG”, “Bon Chic Bon Genre”, the upper middle class Parisians. Similar satirical books have been written mocking upper crust societies. For upper middle class white Americans, we have the book Stuff White People Like. The British have The Sloane Ranger, poking fun at the British upper crust.
Stuff Parisians Like is a light and entertaining read geared towards an American audience. If you’re easily insulted, this book isn’t for you. Magny discusses how Parisians react when discussing Americans:
“Parisians have a bit of a different physiology. Things like a certain inability to smile are quite well-known expressions of this phenomenon…When hearing the phrase “Les Américains”, the Parisian will implacably lose track of his previous ideas to just be taken over by one overpowering thought…”Oui, mais les Américains, ils sont cons.” It would be impolite at that point to bring to the Parisian’s attention that he starts to sound like the stupid American he despises so much…Plus, despite his obvious in-depth knowledge of America, chances are he might not get the joke…”
I’d recommend this to a Francophile, someone who has lived in Paris or going on vacation to Paris. Keep in mind, Stuff Parisian Like should be taken with “un grain de sel.”
Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah
Expected publication: September 26th 2013 by Pamela Dorman Books
If you are Francophile, traveler, foodie or gourmet, this book is for you. I’ve been to France many times, and after reading this book, I’m reading to fly there next week.
Ann Mah’s writing is smooth and enjoyable to read. Mastering The Art of French Eating is about a diplomat’s wife who experiences the foods of France. Along the way, she makes some interesting discoveries about herself, as she is traveling alone, while her husband is on assignment in the Middle East.
Throughout the book, Mah includes pertinent history of the regions she is visiting, along with recipes of her favorite french dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.
5 stars all the way!
** I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair review.