Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #483,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #422 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > French #696 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Culinary #749 in Books > Travel > Europe > France > General
I can not say enough wonderful things about this book. I confess that I am a sucker for all things French, and any book that tells me about Paris, food and the French is a book I will treasure. I didn't read the chapters in order, necessarily, and that is what I really loved about it. Although there is a chronological time line, you can read it out of order and enjoy it just as much as if you had done it the way most people do. The chapters really stand on their own, and the writing was delightful. It was tender, sassy, and kind, but honest. Ms. Bard clearly loves France, but she doesn't hold back from offering critiques either. I like her honesty, and I like that it was tempered with affection and humor. These are the stories that a friend would tell you, and make you laugh and think about, long after the covers are closed, and the book is sitting on a shelf. This is not a book that will, or should, sit on a shelf. It is part philosopher, part lover, part friend, and part chef. I loved the fact that the recipes are generally simple and good, and things that the French themselves eat, and are not show off or Haute Cuisine. Ms. Bard fell in love with a guy and with France, and she got both. Hats off to her. She made me feel like part of the family with her stories; this book is infectious and really invades your consciousness, and makes you want to read it. I would definitely give her high marks for voice, style and content. The only disappointment with my copy of the book, was the binding. The first time I opened it, one of the pages nearly fell out. I felt that the publisher let us down by putting up with such shoddy workmanship. I love this book enough to buy copies for my daughter and daughter-in-law, but I will warn them to handle it with care!
I read this book as I love to take a free trip to France, and that the author did for me. I like to dine in France, and that she did---allowing my to vicariously experience restaurants and dining experiences, her images are detailed and wonderful. The recipes thrown in were a joy, and I even made some. The ones I made reproduced very nicely. I may try one or two more.But, there was a major turn-off. It was cheapened by some chapters being a Sex-in-the-City romp. The first paragraph she tells how she slept with her husband on the first date. While this is ordinarily fine and can make for fun reading, it is not okay in a memoir. She insists she is not the type, but then the reader is repeatedly informed of the size of the authors breasts on way too many occasions for me to take her seriously as a grown up.In one chapter,you are charmed by her sincere husband and her sincere emotions of falling in love with him, some lovely childhood memories, and I start to think what a lovely intelligent, sensitive person this is. Then, in the next minute, she is off for a wild Sex-in-the-City romp with her college friend, throws in some cleavage comments, has a wild party with fashionistas.I love many parts of the book, but I am equally turned off by many other parts of the book. I was VERY ambivalent. This inconsistenty of a delicate, well meaning sensitive protagonist being young and going through some growth pains while living abroad was all good. The lovely images of France are all good. But, then the wow-girl-check-me-out-sex-in-the-city turns she takes,too-much-intimate-gratuitous personal exposure, makes this for me a very inconsistent bumpy experience. Quality, then Cheap Goods, Quality, then Cheap Goods.
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