27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Unconvincing 'fiction'; as bland as bland can be.,
This review is from: French Kissing (Paperback)Oh Catherine, Catherine, Catherine. Where did it all go wrong? I loved your blog - LOVED it - and read it faithfully from the time I discovered it on Expatica (i.e. before you were famous) until its sad demise at the end of September. Your posts were often (and I don't use this word lightly) EXQUISITE, my favourite of all time being the piece about your daughter throwing up a heart-shaped Cornflake during a taxi ride to the airport on Valentine's Day. It was a moment perfectly captured, full of character and mordant wit. The same scene, recycled into 'fiction' here, but without the Valentine's connection or the heart-shaped cereal, has no zest or bite: it adds nothing to your text and typifies the lacklustre tone of every single page.
Oh, and to quote your last blog post: 'every scene and every last shred of dialogue' is invented in this book? Please. The scene I just described was real, just as pretty much everything and everyone else you describe is real: 'Sally' is clearly you; 'Lila' is clearly your real daughter; 'Anna' is clearly your best mate Meg; 'Rendez-Vous' is clearly Meetic, and nearly all of the dates you recount have mirroring pieces with REAL MEN IN THEM on your blog. Even Sally's thoughts on details like the guy whose Rendez-Vous/Meetic pic has half his ex-girlfriend's cheek on it, or your comments about 'caterpillar' facial hair on other men's pics are plucked right from your blog.
I'm so sorry this book isn't better and I can't write the glowing review I'm sure you'd prefer to read, but your words just irk me too much: how can you have the arrogance to say Sally/you (in another recycled blog quote) is so good at French that she's often mistaken for a native speaker, and then put an erroneous circumflex accent on 'sâli' (no; it's 'sali') just as you did on 'compôte' in 'Petite Anglaise' (NO, it's 'compote'; and while I'm at it, p. 61: should be 't'inquiète pas' with no S too...)
In case anybody is about to jump in and tell me this book is evidence of Cath's fabulous writing talent, here are a few examples of the contrary: does this sound like a natural dialogue between a mother and a father?: 'Her dreams are usually populated with princesses and unicorns, judging by what she tells me when she wakes up in the morning'. Of course not. Real people would say 'Her dreams are full of princesses and unicorns. That's what she tells me when she wakes up in the morning'. Sigh. And here's an excellent sentence construction for you: 'at the end OF one OF our OF late rather stilted fortnightly phonecalls...' Somebody get the poor girl an editor!!!
Catherine. Call me a troll, as I'm sure you will on your Facebook, but I love books too much to give this one any credit. Short pieces work well for you; rehashing your life in 'novel' form does not. So 'adieu' and not 'au revoir'; I'm afraid I won't be reading you again...