There is a brand of outdoor wood tratment whose tag line is that it "does what is says on the label". I would commend this book and its accompanying cd as doing precisely that: they thoroughly cover common situations in modern everyday French. The cd appears to be spoken by real French people at a normal conversational pace. Essential grammar is clearly explained and there are plenty of practice exercises. The variety of dialogues from chapter to chapter encourage learners to keep going, and vocabulary is built naturally through read - understand - use. Its real advantage for me over other courses is its simplicity: so many other courses seem to lack direction, being laid out more like magazines, not offering a language learner a straightforward path to competence. Alan Moys' little book is an admirably direct and effective way to get to grips with the French language. Proviso - although it is supposed to be useable by absolute beginners, I usually use it for students who already have a few notions of the language.
This book is excellent. I have recently returned to learning French after a seven year break. I have read a number of instant/introductory French books lately and this is the best of them. It not only covers the basics in being able to understand and to be understood (like most instant french books), but also deals with some of the more challenging grammar later on. The balance between tackling enough new material to maintain progress but not becoming confused is about right. The chapters are sensible in their grouping and choice, and with each new chapter there is a new verb(s) and grammar. There are passages in french followed immediately by the exact english translation. Vocabulary is no problem since there is a list at the back of the book. Another advantages to the book are the exercerises, that pleasingly have the accompanying answers at the back of the book. This relieves the uncertainty in completeing excersise to which you have no answers. A well rounded interesting book.