Book Review: Almost French

Almost French

My aunt passed me this book after she finished reading it and only described it as a book about a girl who meets a French guy and moves to Paris to be with him. I wasn’t that interested because it sounded like a boring cliche but who am I to turn down a free book and one set in France? However, this book really surprised me and I would read huge chunks of it at a time and feel like only a few minutes had passed.

The author, Australian Sarah Turnbull, does indeed meet a French man one night and then spontaneously decides to move to Paris to start a relationship with him but the book is so much more than that. Working as a freelance journalist, Sarah hardly comments on her relationship with Frederic and instead chronicles her struggle to assimilate into the French culture whether she is at a dinner party, apartment hunting, or in the audience of a runway couture show.

While I don’t think one person’s experience should generalize a whole country, I don’t think I’ve read a book like this in which I could get a true sense of what the French culture is like. Sarah doesn’t idealize Paris like so many other books do but shows some of its flaws and her own too. Not every place is perfect but it can grow on you and you can adjust to a new environment as was the case for Sarah. This book came out a decade ago but I just learned that the author has a follow-up memoir, All Good Things, which released this year and which I fully intend to read.

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