Monsieur Mediocre

One American Learns the High Art of Being Everyday French
Narrated by: John von Sothen
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

A hilarious, candid account of what life in France is actually like, from a writer for Vanity Fair and GQ

Americans love to love Paris. We buy books about how the French parent, why French women don't get fat, and how to be Parisian wherever you are. While our work hours increase every year, we think longingly of the six weeks of vacation the French enjoy, imagining them at the seaside in stripes with plates of fruits de mer.

John von Sothen fell in love with Paris through the stories his mother told of her year spent there as a student. And then, after falling for and marrying a French waitress he met in New York, von Sothen moved to Paris. But 15 years in, he's finally ready to admit his mother's Paris is mostly a fantasy. In this hilarious and delightful collection of essays, von Sothen walks us through real life in Paris - not only myth-busting our Parisian daydreams but also revealing the inimitable and too often invisible pleasures of family life abroad. 

Relentlessly funny and full of incisive observations, Monsieur Mediocre is ultimately a love letter to France - to its absurdities, its history, its ideals - but it's a very French love letter: frank, smoky, unsentimental. It is a clear-eyed ode to a beautiful, complex, contradictory country from someone who both eagerly and grudgingly calls it home. 

"This book made me laugh out loud on the subway. J'adore every jaded character, every hilarious insight, and every upended stereotype. Most of all I felt this hum of love - for France, for family, and for life, really - that gives every essay a beguiling depth." (Maeve Higgins, author of Maeve in America)

©2019 John von Sothen (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Hilarious and touching! We hear often how cultured the French are, how sophisticated, how superior. Expat John von Sothen's Paris is, in his words, 'a mess - a confusing, roiling, weird place.' In other words, it's a lot of fun - not unlike this charming book." (Ada Calhoun, author of Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give)

"I devoured John von Sothen's sharp, funny, and surprisingly tender memoir. A fresh look at a country many know only through a rose-tinted lens." (Jancee Dunn, author of How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids)

“Von Sothen is both laugh-out-loud funny and tender, the latter especially in poignant essays about his parents, an artist and a newsman, who had him late in life. The problem, if it can be called one, is that even without fantasy, von Sothen's Paris comes across as pretty fantastic, a vibrant, genuine place he clearly feels lucky to call home.” (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I’m a sucker for these kind of stories.....

I enjoyed the story, delivery and pace throughout. Highly enjoyable! Also appreciated the past and current political commentary. I feel I learned several fun tidbits.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

My life is boring too!

listen to the most boring man alive tell you his life history, sometimes in France!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

when will it be clever or funny?????

Oh wow....nothing but America bashing and boring stories about how to get out of raising my children. Why have children? This book was reviewed as laugh out loud hilarious. Not true. The narrator was annoying because he has adopted the habit of saying din't instead of didn't and woun't instead of wouldn't coun't instead of couldn't. So irritating. I feel like the reviews were done by family members. Wish I could get my credit back. UGH

1 person found this helpful