Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris

Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris

by Sarah Turnbull

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Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was surprisingly interesting. I really enjoyed reading about the difference between the two cultures and how the author struggled to become more Parisian while still keep her own identity. The book is very informative about human nature in general and how important our nationalities are in forming out personality, opinions and ideas about everything from food to clothes and pretty much shaping us into the people that we are.
Fleur-De-Lis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastic!I enjoyed this book from start to finish, wonderously funny and with some useful tips for being accepted by the french.I did however find it took a little while to read - it was written in a very journalistic way - which i tended to get a bit tired of. But Beautiful all the same. Read it! Especially if you are interested or are going to France!Oh, and i am Australian too. I found it interesting to see how the French treat the Australians.
St.CroixSue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The very honest memoir of a young Australian who falls in love with a very French Frenchman and ends up living in Paris. The theme is an expatriates¿ struggle with identity and sense of belonging offering insights and some analysis into France and the nuances of its culture.
hardlyhardy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the mid-1990s, an Australian journalist named Sarah Turnbull met a Frenchman while visiting in Eastern Europe. They fell in love and before long she moved in with him in his home near Paris. Her memoir, "Almost French," published in 2002, is a compelling personal story but also a fascinating look at French culture from an outsider trying to fit in.Fitting in, Turnbull concedes after several years in France, is virtually impossible for anyone born and raised somewhere else. Marrying her boyfriend helped, but she knows she will always be regarded as the Anglo-Saxon outsider who is almost, but not quite, French.In chapters covering such subjects as French fashion, food, bureaucracy and attitudes toward people of other countries, Turnbull explains how she has learned to understand, if not always accept, the French way. French women, she discovered, tend to have few female friends because, more so than in other cultures, they feel they are in competition with one another. Because French red tape is so burdensome -- just getting married, she finds, can take several months of paperwork and waiting -- most people ignore the law most of the time. (And the law ignores most offenders most of the time.) French people tend to be cold to strangers and unusually blunt -- if they don't like what you are wearing or how your dog is groomed, they don't hesitate to tell you. What you wear and what you serve your guests are vitally important to the French, and many of Turnbull's funniest stories have to do with her failures in these areas."Almost French" is an entertaining and revealing book that should be required reading for anyone planning to spend much time in France.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Delightful! Aussie Sarah takes on the Parisians and wins. The culture clash from super sized candy bars to shorts/running shoes to fetch the paper.
beata on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anglosaxon (australian in that case) perception of French culture and customs. Many good hints and tips for foreigners.
coffeeandabookchick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull is a memoir about the Australian author's time in Paris as she falls in love, learns the culture (or tries to fit in), and tries to get consistent work as a journalist. Perhaps it was because it was a travel memoir and fitting in that I thought so often of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, but within pages it held a completely separate voice for me.Sarah Turnbull has taken time off from her job in Australia to travel Europe -- she figures that she might as well do it now since she can afford to take the time and she has no commitments -- after all, why wait until much later in life when work and family obligations might get in the way? Off she goes to Europe, and while in Bucharest, she meets Frèdèric, and decides to do something different than she's ever done before and completely change her plans -- go to Paris to stay with a guy that she only met for a few days in Bucharest. Throwing caution to the wind she goes -- and settles into Paris and tries to find her place within the culture and the job market.This book is a hit in Australia and it was definitely a really pleasant read. I enjoyed her moments of confusion in trying to understand fashion and language, and there is one particular moment that I spluttered my coffee out with laughter for my combined shock and for feeling the author's complete embarrassment -- a simple moment in which she asks her new boyfriend in front of his friends if he would like his smoking pipe, when she mistakenly really asked him if he, ahem...would like a something sexual to occur. I felt for her trying to fit in and get used to it all, and as I've traveled quite a bit in my life and lived in multiple locations, I felt my understanding and my frustrations for her experiences grow as I read each page. It's tough to fit in sometimes!The only aspect that found me a little wanting was that I felt she wrote with such great detail on so many events and moments, but she skipped quite a bit on the love she had with Frèdèric which was the ultimate reason which compelled her to move to Paris in the first place. Perhaps it was out of respect for their intimacies (completely understandable) and perhaps I'm just an old romantic at heart, but I felt a tad removed from the blossoming love that they experienced within their relationship that would so compel this grounded and logical woman to completely forgo her plan to travel all of Europe and instead, after one week of meeting with a man, to move instead to Paris to begin life anew.Sarah Turnbull's descriptions of Parisian life, the eccentric characters she meets in a new neighborhood, and her ability (or lack thereof) to fit in fashionably at first, were quite endearing and offered a fun snapshot into her life. I cheered for her to find the right job, and enjoyed her journalistic cadence as Turnbull related each event with sometimes a distant voice and sometimes with close up scrutiny, one that ultimately turns into quite a fun trip into Parisian culture!
iammbb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sarah Turnbull, an Australian, is touring Europe when she meets Frederic, a Parisian.She ejects her itinerary and follows him to Paris.And the payoff (for us) is this lovely book.Sarah has a view of Paris and the French as an expat who is living with and eventually marries a native. It's an outsider's insider view and it provides a nice contrast to Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon.While she can't avoid hobnobbing with some expats (although she tries mightily to avoid it), Turnbull's Paris, because of her intimate relationship with a Parisian, is filled with experiences and affectionate insights about the ups and downs of trying to fit in as a unpretentious Aussie in the hierarchical, class based world of Paris.Turnbull is honest enough about herself to allow the reader to get frustrated with her tendency to take personally what are essentially cultural differences. She is also fond enough of the French to provide believable explanations for their abominably rude behavior.I finished Paris to the Moon feeling that while Paris is a nice place to visit, I wouldn't want to live there.I finished Almost French feeling that in the right circumstances, I could probably enjoy living in Paris too.
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.my rating 4/5
Smits on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this before, and during my trip to Paris and that made this book so much better. Still, one can't help but like the author and feel for her as she finds out how to live and cope with being a Parisienne which she admits she can never truly be. Her insight into the mindset, hearts , customs and foiables of the French people are written with great humor, self depreciation and admiration. the author really helped me understand the french mentality and this helped me while I traveled in Paris. besides all that is was fun to read. i laughed out loud.
Kimasbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
great book to read if planning a trip to France or anyone interested in the French "mind" or culture
maggie1944 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A light, fun read about a young Australian woman who goes to Paris, France on a lark, and at the invitation of a young man. The book is a memoir of her next few years as she and the young man get to know each other, ultimatley marrying. Her memoir is mostly about how a young Australian, without a great deal of French language, learns to live with the unique qualities of Paris and the folks who live in Paris. She is very insightful about how cultural differences can provide humor as well as anger and she runs the gamet. I loved reading it, and having a small amount of experience with French people I identified with much of her experiences. I recommend it for people who love France, Paris, or French culture (clothes, cooking, dogs, art). I especially recommend it to anyone getting ready to travel to France and who expects to stay for a while.
bconnett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting and enjoyable first person account of living in France (Paris), as an Australian married to a frenchman. Gives insight into French family attitudes and behavior and daily issues of living in Paris. A fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
huckfinn37 More than 1 year ago
Almost French is a great fish out of water memoir. It made me want to travel to France.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. I found myself falling in love with Paris. The culture of France is really explored in here and you can't help but root for the author. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this memoir.
MagWard More than 1 year ago
If you are trying to adjust to living in a new culture, this book is for you! Ms. Turnbull, who fell in love and moved to Paris as a result, shares her experiences in a lighthearted and loving way. After being baffled, hurt, shocked, frustrated and sometimes angered, she finally reaches a point where she appreciates and understands (to a point) her newly adopted culture. One comes away feeling enriched and informed by her experience. There are many aspects of culture we all take for granted; reading this book will change that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In hindsight, she discovers she has warmed to her host country. She came across to me as a spoiled 20-something, shocked that this new country/coulture was not accepting to her "differences". She is pleased ? that as an Aussie she is more accepted than if she were an American. The reader then learns through the trials of her story she was born in the USA! (one must shudder!) At first she whines, "I want to live in Paris", "I don't want to spend the weekend in the country". Only later, she learns to appreciate the country. And "why" does her boyfriend have to be from the "North" While I wonder, HOW could this man tolerate her? She is encouraged by "change" to the Paris, in government and culture. Personally, I visit 'strange' places to enjoy the difference. WHO would want Paris, of all places to change? As much as I wanted to enjoy a love story in Paris, I was disappointed.
Roiselives More than 1 year ago
Loved this book....gives such a personal, comprehensive view of Paris living.
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