- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 51 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 24 Jun. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0072J40Y4
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Secret Life of France Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a more serious book than I was perhaps expecting, certainly with some humour, but also with a lot detailed discussion of history, politics and France's relationship with her ethnic minorities, and her response to terrorism. Certainly, it will give you some insight into the correct tone to adopt towards your boulanger, but it also deals with other more weighty issues than this.
If I have a criticism it is perhaps that this book doesn't quite catch the diversity of France, based very much on what Wadham experienced in her own circle. For example, she does touch on French rural life, but a more in-depth analysis of the differences between the city-dwellers and the proudly titled French "peasants" is beyond the scope of this book, perhaps understandably, but it is a shame nonetheless.
Definitely worth reading if you love France but find the French rather enigmatic as some light will be shed on the mysterious ways of our Gallic neighbour!
Myself, I have been to France ten or eleven times, including my honeymoon in Corsica, but reading this book makes me think I probably know the place better from television and maybe a few films than from my stays there. Nothing Lucy Wadham says about France or the French surprises me, and although my knowledge of it all seems somehow second-hand I think I can understand to a fair extent what she is talking about. She starts her narration where she ought to start it as a young woman, with the relations between the sexes, partly but not mainly her own experiences. I am not going to précis her findings: I shall say only that she has a very interesting slant not only on the work/life balance of the French but on the balance between their commitment to marriage, their adherence or otherwise to Catholic moral teaching, and their attitude to sexual relations generally. A lot of the interest of this part of the book may be unintentional, by giving us insights into her own mental and emotional processes. She is obviously very sharp and analytical, for instance, but if the word `love' occurs at all in this context I think I must have missed it.Read more ›
The same applies for many bits of the book (for example the long-running discussion of her husband's previous girlfriend, sorry, but I found this boring) and I found this a bit annoying hence only 3 stars. But actually, the bits where she was more journalistic and detached I enjoyed more, but even there, cliches were trotted out: you have to stay in hospital for three days if you have a baby in France - I repeated this to a French friend who is a new mother, who totally denied it; the stuff about the French under Nazi occupation; the stuff about their civil service and their sense of rights and duties. I have heard this all before elsewhere and would have liked to hear a new version of the story.
Finally it sometimes felt that there was nothing in this book about the France and the French people I know: generous, kind, expansive, sensual, Anglophile, passionate, clever, proud, thoughtful and terribly friendly. I don't recognise the women who lack 'sisterhood' and who are unable to form proper friendships, shown in this book. My experience is exactly the opposite, and in the end, it's just personal objections on my part that make me disagree with Wadham's account of the country she has lived in for so long.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written. Furthermore Wadham has a deep understanding of a woman's role within French culture. There are so many amusing and thoughtful insights. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Maureen Cooke
This will certainly prove to be the most valuable book I will have read this year, perhaps for several years to come as well. I initially bought, and read it, on kindle. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mrs. Mary J. L. Kennedy
Hilarious and really informative. I found the description of different approaches to healthcare and education fascinating. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Emily
Lucy Wadham has spent over 30 years in France and can be considered as something of an expert on France and the French. Read morePublished 5 months ago by njl123
A fascinating, insightful and engagingly quirky reflection on France, the French and the relationship between England and FrancePublished 7 months ago by Roy S
Gave us a good idea of what to expect when we retired to France. They are very different from the Anglo Saxons.Published 8 months ago by Patricia Geary
There is no doubt that, to us Brits, France is a hugely entertaining, fascinating and yet frustrating country. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Edward B. Crutchley