I taught this book while at Wabash College. The white students from Indiana (with little background in diversity) had a good deal of trouble understanding it, and I did a lot of explaining. However, I found it interesting that an Indian-American student (as in eastern Asia) understood perfectly the tensions and problems of living in two cultures that the author presents.
My grandmother is from Sonora Mexico. I grew up in Phoenix. I'd long heard about this book while in the Southwest. The author nails many of the things one understands and grows up with, yet somehow is never part of, or drifts away from. If you've ever felt yourself in two worlds, you will enjoy this book. If you have Latin heritage, you must read this book! And, this may be a case where reading the paper version is better than the audio version. When I read it on paper, I imagined all of those local dialects and sounds in my past, some of them as my aunts' voices. I believe my experience reading the paper version the book was richer because the sounds in my memory were entangled in the reading experience. The end was very moving.
The reader is wonderful. The author is wonderful. What more do you need?
For a time I thought this book was not as good as the first, but I was very pleased by the end of it. The problem is that _The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo_ is just so good, how do you follow it?
It's really worth the listen. Highly recommended.
There is a problem though: I want #3 in the series and audible does not have it yet!
Okay, this is not high literature. However, the story is well-paced, characters interesting, and the storyline fun. If you are a francophone or francophile, you will appreciate Johnson's view of France, from the perspective of an outsider peering in, trying to come to terms with new customs and a new language. Johnson illuminates differences in American and French attitudes toward life, love, and eating. The reader's French is also superb. It's worth the listen as sheer escapism! :-)
The only downside to this audiobook is the narrator. Couldn't they find someone who actually spoke French to read the book? Julia Child deserved as much! If you speak French, the narration may drive you crazy. For example, "Louisette" sounded like "Louis VII" and "beurre blanc" became "beurre blanK." Howevever, if you can ignore it, it's a wonderful listen. I learned a great deal about the master and her love for good food, friends, and post-war France.
one reviewer wrote this:
"What a relief to hear a book with several French characters read by someone whose French doesn't make me wince, cringe or wonder what I just heard."
To this I say: DITTO. It's a fun listen and the French is good.
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