- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 47 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 14 Jun. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005630H9K
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Almost French Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
It is ironic that I started reading the book a week or so before venturing on a trip to a quiet camp site south of the Loire where, by contrast, it's all too obvious that rural life depends upon an equilibrium which is less 'sophisticated', yet more real than the to-ing and fro-ing of the friends of Sarah in the 1990's. Village life means that what you sit in or at, what type of four course lunches you have and what fashion icons you slavishly follow have little to do with the ambience of the back streets of the French capital.
However, Sarah gives relevance to the different kind of survival with sensitivity and empathy, before the social changes of Paris gave rise to even more affluent elements of its evolution. The connection, the key element, to French life was, and is, however, still the friendships of groups of people, their interdependence for survival is the same.
Sarah's few short years before writing gave her an outsider's opinion enough to be independent Aw more objective than the average Parisian, whatever that is. Nevertheless, my observations of rural French life, the historic and sometimes decaying buildings still house some of the most warm and friendly people I have met; mostly French. Even in the depths of the beautiful regions south of the Loire are people who have been adopted...and adapted....by the French; one, a Glaswegan gardener/handyman, another a restauranteure who has been in France for the past 25 years and is as much a part of village life as any 'insider' who has been born and brought up in the French countryside.
Who else has an opinion about the evolution of France and its ever moving culture?
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.
On the other hand, I enjoyed the book: she's flawed, but who isn't? Yes, she sees life from an Australian perspective (she's a bit gauche) but what other perspective can she have? Aside from all the nitpicking anyone can do, I thought the book was interesting, funny and well written.
I lived in Paris and I speak fluent French: my family comes from, and now lives, all over the world. So for me is very easy to be a chameleon, and I have a deep cultural understanding of the French. I can therefore say that Sarah did very well to fit into French life, given the fact that it is an unbelievably homogeneous culture (hurrah for the immigrants!). I think she's terrific and the book was a great read.