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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done
"Almost French" is the story of a woman who goes to France to visit a French lawyer she has only met a couple times before and barely knows. Of course, she gets caught up in the romance of the city and stays on to live there. Despite this description this is not some drippy love story but rather a wonderfully observant series of accounts told from a journalists point of...
Published on 10 Nov 2004 by Isadore Ann

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3.0 out of 5 stars as she rarely discusses her love for her French boyfriend
I've lived and worked in southern France for almost a decade, so was expecting to recognise some of my own experience of culture shock in her descriptions of adapting to life in France. To some degree I did, but I also found the book curiously dispassionate - literally in some ways, as she rarely discusses her love for her French boyfriend. This leaves the story lacking...
Published 7 days ago by Louisa


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done, 10 Nov 2004
"Almost French" is the story of a woman who goes to France to visit a French lawyer she has only met a couple times before and barely knows. Of course, she gets caught up in the romance of the city and stays on to live there. Despite this description this is not some drippy love story but rather a wonderfully observant series of accounts told from a journalists point of view. For those who have visited Paris, and those yet to make the trip, this book will amaze and entertain you. Turnbull comes to the realization that despite the fact that she will never fit in perfectly in Paris, her life is in and of itself perfect.
I especially enjoyed the day to day accounts of regular everyday life - dinner parties, meeting friends, finding employment, traveling, cooking, shopping, etc. The accounts of her dog are very amusing. I hope to see a follow up book from this author!
From the author of The Difference Now.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 18 July 2004
Brilliant! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being an English woman and having on two occasions uprooted to France for a year, I get so tired of reading all those rose tinted novels about moving to France which talk whimsically about how wonderful it is, how friendly all the locals are, how they all laugh good naturedly at your attempts to speak French, how all misunderstandings are sorted out over a glass of red wine. All these books paint a false picture of living in France but here is one which tells it like it is, it is hard, it can reduce you to tears, you can feel like screaming at the 'friendly locals'. I am a francophile but I'm the first to admit, the country and its people can be infuriating and unfriendly towards foreigners. Sarah Turnbull tells her story with honesty and humour, I recognised so much of what she wrote. Anybody who loves France or who has expereinced living there will enjoy this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cure for Culture Shock, 13 Jan 2004
By 
takingadayoff "takingadayoff" (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
An young Aussie journalist charges into France, determined to win it over. France resists.
Some of the best non-fiction of any kind is written by journalists. Turnbull's open and straightforward style works well here. Her narrative reads like a series of letters from a good friend, but the writing is too good for it to have been dashed off.
I loved reading about her dinner parties (disaster), getting along with her future in-laws (disaster), and learning to reconcile Australian casualness with Parisian attention to appearance (less of a disaster once her boyfriend talked her into tossing the sweat pants).
I was especially taken with how Turnbull managed to re-started her career in a country whose language she had flunked in college. What determination!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to get on in Paris..., 19 April 2006
This review is from: Almost French: A New Life in Paris (Paperback)
On her backpacking travels around Europe, 20 something Australian, Sarah Turnbull, meets Frenchman, Frederic, who invites her to Paris for a week. A week turns into eight years as she finds herself married to Frederic and throwing out her beloved tracksuit bottoms in a bid to look more sophisticated in one of the most fashion conscious capitals of the world!

Relocating to another country proves to be quite a trial for Sarah Turnbull as she comes across inevitable differences in culture and a different way of life which are at first testing, but which she comes to embrace.

This non-fiction novel offers an insightful and often witty account from an expat's point of view. We follow her on her journey as she commits faux pas ranging from being too gregarious at swank parties and not pampering her pooch to the Parisian standard to wearing her "pantaloons de jogging" on her early morning run to the bakery (wrong, wrong, wrong!) and laughing too loudly! Things that she takes for granted in Sydney are not quite so acceptable in Paris, but she comes to learn, understand and accept how things work.

Over the years, she gets work as a freelance journalist, learns how to conduct herself at Parisian dinner parties and how to evade strict planning permission laws. She also gets used to the heavy bureaucracy and waiting her turn in the cheese shop. Eventually, Sarah becomes accustomed to the French way of life and overcomes her difficulties to become almost French.

This book would appeal to anyone who has an interest in France, and in particular, Paris. It is educational, without being patronising or disrespectful towards the French. Each chapter is informative, and I for one learnt a number of things that I wasn't aware of before, such as why in many cases it takes time to befriend the Parisians and how attached the French are to the region they grew up in. Sarah Turnbull presents a fair, and warm story, dispelling some French stereotypes, and proving others.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book, particularly the sections on fashion (namely haute couture), Parisian women, food and the general descriptions of Paris and it's many "arrondissements", or neighbourhoods. There is a lot of attention to detail, with every place, person and object described to paint a vivid picture in the mind of the reader.

"Almost French, a New Life in Paris" is an easy read, and if you plan to visit France, or Paris for a prolonged period of time, then definitely give this book a read, after all, you never know, a week's stay might just turn into eight years...
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and educational, 4 April 2005
By 
"Almost French" is a remarkable story of a woman who goes to France to visit an acquaintance, a French lawyer. It is the romantic nature of the city of Paris that rapped her. She came to enjoy the day to day regular life of , strolls in the city, dinner parties, meeting friends, enjoying the flow of the city, finding employment, meeting new people, traveling, learning more about the French, cooking, the night life, shopping and many other activities. This is one of the books that do not paint a false picture of living in France, and tells it the way it truly is. Living in a foreign country and culture is hard. Before you get used to it, there are times when you almost get reduced to tears, when you feel lost, when you feel like venting your listlessness at the 'friendly locals. This book is a fascinating series of accounts told from a journalist's point of view. For anyone harboring romantic visions of becoming an expatriate, more so in a country like France or a city like Paris, I recommend this book. Even for those who have already visited Paris, and those yet to visit, this is a book to read.
This memoir of Sarah Turnbull's move to Paris from Australia is a fun to read book. I was amused by her recount of her dog. I am looking forward to more books by this author.
Also recommended: THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, LIVING AND WORKING IN PARIS, SIXTY MILLION FRENCHMEN CAN'T BE WRONG, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE
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3.0 out of 5 stars as she rarely discusses her love for her French boyfriend, 21 Aug 2014
By 
This review is from: Almost French: A New Life in Paris (Paperback)
I've lived and worked in southern France for almost a decade, so was expecting to recognise some of my own experience of culture shock in her descriptions of adapting to life in France. To some degree I did, but I also found the book curiously dispassionate - literally in some ways, as she rarely discusses her love for her French boyfriend. This leaves the story lacking a motive for her perseverance, and you wonder if she's just going through the motions for journalistic reasons.

It's also odd that so little is made of her struggles with the language barrier (a recurring and very real problem for long-term expats). If she's so keen to get under the skin of the culture, why only do a 4-week language course?

Finally, I was a little irritated by the fact that the book seemed to be written for an American audience, and contained frequent jibes about the British. References to sometimes strained Anglo-French relations is hardly cutting-edge investigative journalism! In fact, as is the "revelation" that Parisian women like to look smart. Well, no crap Sherlock!

Worth reading by those who really don't know France, or maybe on the beach or the train - anywhere you don't need to bust out too many brain cells.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vive le Differance - Breaking Down the Barriers, 26 Mar 2003
All of us not native to La Belle France have experienced or heard expressions of the indifference of the French towards foreigners, their overt nationalism and the overwhelming tendency to do things "their way". Despite all of this, without necessarily wearing the mantle of and bearing the classification of a Francophile, we most often find the people and the nation of France charming, if not just a little frustrating at times. ALMOST FRENCH by SARAH TURNBULL gives us an enchanting insight into understanding the many myths and attitudes attributed to both sides, French and foreign and in a most entertaining manner, gives guidance and explanation to those of us who have experienced, or are about encounter, the "French Phenomenon" . To the "foreigner" a "must read" before you go there. Let's hope we hear more from this bright, entertaining young author.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy!, 10 Nov 2010
This review is from: Almost French: A New Life in Paris (Paperback)
As a lifelong Francophile, I hoover up any book of this type (ex-pat moves to France and describes trials and tribulations with the locals). However, I was sorely disappointed.
The book is curiously dispassionate, even more bizarre given that the author relocates for love. The only time that she manages to raise any excitement is when she is moaning at the injustices of the behaviour of the French towards her.
There are some surreal omissions e.g. she appears to learn to speak French within weeks, and there is no mention of any administrative difficulty in becoming self-employed in France.
If you have a real love of France and the French, don't bother, as this indignant individual does not share it with you. You would be far better off with Peter Mayle, or in fact any of a number of similar works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Paris, 4 April 2014
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This so described the Paris I know and love. Anyone who has been to Paris will love it and if you haven't been will make you want to go!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of a new life in Paris, 22 April 2013
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I have read many books now about people (usually British) who have moved to France, and their experiences. Some have been pretty awful ( of the 'aren't foreigners funny' variety), others pretty good. This one is slightly different, as the author is Australian, and her new environment is Paris, rather than elsewhere in France, and, yes, there is a difference.
Her experiences over six years or so are well-written, and her discoveries along the way are interesting to read. I did find her a little irritating at times, though. Certainly at the beginning, she came across as rather immature, expecting everyone else to fit in with her, and sulking when they didn't.
There isn't much new here if you have read any similar book before, although she does come up with some interesting insights into the French - perhaps particularly Parisian - psyche. If you are going to spend time living in Paris, then this would make for interesting preparatory reading.
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Almost French: A New Life in Paris
Almost French: A New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull (Paperback - 26 May 2005)
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