If you're thinking of travelling to South West France or even buying a house in the region this book is a real find. Though this area of France has been belatedly discovered over the last few years, certainly since Ryanair started operating from Carcassonne, there is little information in English to help the visitor make the most of it and this collection of diary entries charting the move of Jean-Marc and Randy L'Officier (and their dog Maggie) from Los Angeles to the charming village of Chalabre gives a real inside knowledge. As the days, weeks and months progress you absorb a real feeling for the flavour of the area, the traditional local way of life and friendliness of the local community, the beauty of the scenery in the changing seasons as well as all the pitfalls and obstacles of buying and renovating an old house. We found it really useful on a practical level too as it's packed with information on the lovely villages and towns of the area, the best restaurants, shops and markets and even recipes. An ideal book for anyone interested in this beautiful and still very untouristy region.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Different Take on Moving to France20 Sept. 2010
Leslie M. Ficcaglia
- Published on Amazon.com
"Over Here" is a delightful book about a couple who pulled up stakes and returned to the husband's native France after living in Los Angeles for a number of years. I would have liked to know more about them as people and about how they met, because they sound as though they have some interesting stories to tell about the other facets of their lives. However, Randy's descriptions of the way they made their decision to move, and their adventures while househunting and eventually finding a place and settling in, were fascinating. She has a humorous, somewhat wry style which made it all even more enjoyable. I was very sorry to see the book come to an end; while I was reading it I felt that I was there in Chalabre with them, exploring their new locale and participating in their adjustments and discoveries.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mildly Interesting -- could have been far shorter24 Jan. 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a diary-like accounting of a couple's decision to move to a small village in southern France. I purchased it to get a sense of their experience in transitioning from the U.S. to France, with a particular interest in administrative and cultural challenges they faced. To a degree, the book met those interests, but I've downgraded it for the following two reasons:
1. The writing could have been tightened up considerably. Many entries start with apologies for it having been so long since the last entry. On an online blog in real time, this would make sense. In a book, it is merely irritating. The text should have been edited prior to publication to remove extraneous text such as this.
2. The author seems to be one of those people who are absolutely enthralled with his or her dog, and evidently can't fathom the possibility that not everyone else would be, too. Accordingly, w-a-a-a-y too much of the book consists of tiresome accounts of whatever supposedly wonderful thing the dog did that day. Frankly, I couldn't care less what the dog (or the cat or the fish or the bird) did. It's irrelevant.
Granted, if the book had been edited to remove what I've noted as drawbacks, it would be probably only two-thirds its current length. But it would be a much better, concise read.