Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris – a book written by Sarah Turnbull, it’s supposed to be a book about love, though her lover and future husband Frederic is almost missing from the story. His vague presence in the author’s thoughts (and heart??) is rather a pretext for calling this composition a “love story” than a…love story indeed.
Sarah Turnbull, an Australian television journalist, heads impulsively to Paris to stay with a French lawyer, on a whim, after she met him only twice in Bucharest, Romania. Wow! Is she one of those women who just go after a man without even blinking? Not wanting to know more about the man or about his behavior? What if he was a psychopath? Well, it turns out he was not (at least, nothing bad happened to her, not even publishing her book) so, I guess Frederic is just a good man.
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris – but where is the love story?
I missed the promised love story in the title in this book, although the circumstances were perfect for falling in love. Frederic seems to be rather a roommate for Sarah than a real lover, the interaction between them is lacking passion and connection. I wonder if it was Sarah Turnbull’s inability to fall in love at fault or she’s neither a good writer or a good story-teller. There is not excitement, affection, passion that accompany every love story (in Paris!) in the book. I wondered several times why they stayed together and the only answer that subtly pops-up from the story was because Sarah really wanted to live in Paris and it was a good deal for her to have a relation and stay at Frederic’s apartment (for free, probably).
At the end of Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris I only got some immature impressions of what seems to be a pretty bad-mannered Australian woman. Everything must revolve around her in Paris and when it does not, “French people” are described in a bad light (especially French women).
Sarah Turnbull only knows how to whine on about everything in Paris, from Frederic’s apartment, located in the lovely suburb of Levallois to such facts as French being too polite because at an elegant cocktail party they wait for their host to arrive before helping themselves with champagne!
French versus Australian people
She finds French people being so snobby and unwelcoming just because they did not overlook her bad manners and didn’t fall back on admiration at her sight!!! Besides that, it took her a year or two to decide that she really should try and learn some of the French language before get a job as a freelancer.
This book is written that way that helps only to widen the gap between the French and us Anglo-Saxons and I didn’t like that at all. And, ironically, does not help readers to have a good impression about Australian culture too. As a neutral reader (neither French, nor Australian), after reading this book, I remained under the impression that “Australian people” are lacking proper education. Never ever I read a book written by Sarah Turnbull.