I read this book while on vacation in the south of France. Someone had left it in the villa we were staying (group of american and British families). I had such a good time reading it I felt I had to buy it (thanks to whomever left it behind in the villa!). The book is an easy read and so insightful. It reminded me a lot of what my wife used to say about moving to America from England and some of the challenges of figuring out a new culture and trying to fit into a group of well established friends. Funny in many places and also written from the heart, I'd definitely recommend it. Especially if you're planning a trip to France. It has a ton of useful insights into the French culture. I read it in a few days while there and noticed things straight away at the beach and in the towns that came straight from the book....it had me going "ha - she mentioned that" many times on the trip. Definitely worth a purchase, you won't be disappointed.
Sarah Turnbull is a twenty-something journalist from Australia taking some time off to backpack around Europe. She meets Frederic and goes to visit him in Paris and ends up staying. Sarah has a lot of problems with the language, the politics and each chapter is mainly about various facets of her life in France.
Frederic does not live in Paris proper, so eventually he and Sarah buy an apartment in the city and we learn the intricacies of French real estate. When they decide to have a window put in, they have to do it on the sly to avoid all the red-tape and then pay off any neighbors that complain.
I skimmed most of the politics stuff, but I enjoyed all the food discussions and her foray into fashion journalism.
My favorite chapter was when she and Frederic decide to get a dog, Maddie. The French may be very reserved but not when it comes to their pets. Sarah finds her fellow Parisians become very talkative and interested in Maddie. I love that dogs are welcome in all the cafes, shops, and even the butcher shops. And they have lots of very fancy dog groomers that are not just for the rich but anyone that does not want to be scorned and yelled at for not taking proper care of their dogs.
This was billed as a look at love and life in France but it is much more life than love. Which is fine, no one needs another sappy, romantic memoir. I enjoyed this very much and is a great addiction for any Francophile.
I really enoyed this book! I always wanted to live in France and Paris would be my preference. But living in Paris as an expat I worryied that I would never be considered Parisian, my biggest fear. I would mess up the French language so to be mocked. She experiences my fears right from the beginning, the language barrier, the lack of work, the expense of such a dreamy city but she has the support of a newly found boyfriend. As the story develops, she writes of the various neighborhoods, the history and how she enjoys all the sounds, smells and the regulars who live in her eclectic section of Paris. I am living my Paris life vicariously through Sarah Turnbull! It is a very nice story that I highly recommend if you have ever had any interest er dream of living in Paris.
I bought this for a trip to Paris. It seemed like an interesting true story, and I enjoy reading books set in the locations I am traveling in. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I felt like it really helped me understand French culture a little better. As an American who speaks only the amount of French learned from Pimsleur's first level of language CDs, I was really nervous about going to Paris as the reputation of Parisians is that they are really snobby. This book was great because it was written by a backpacker who visits Paris and ends up staying there. Her experiences with Paris and Parisians helped me understand a different perspective on locals seeming snobby or why everyone had dogs. I'm sure someone who is a native French-person or has lived in Paris for decades might find the viewpoint simplistic, but I found it enlightening and entertaining at the same time. A perfect read for a trip to Paris.
This book has great insights into living and even things to consider when traveling in Paris. However, there are many points in the book that I would like to know more of her personal feelings and details about the people and places in her life that might make them feel more real. If you are looking for a good book to give you an idea of Parisian culture, this is a pretty good one.