I'll Never Be French (no Matter What I Do)

I'll Never Be French (no Matter What I Do)

Living in A Small Village in Brittany

Book - 2008
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Tired of Provence in books, cuisine, and tablecloths? Exhausted from your armchair travels to Paris? Despairing of ever finding a place that speaks to you beyond reason? You are ripe for a journey to Brittany, where author Mark Greenside reluctantly travels, eats of the cr#65533;pes, and finds a second life.

When Mark Greenside -- a native New Yorker living in California, doubting (not-as-trusting-as Thomas, downwardly mobile, political lefty, writer, and lifelong skeptic -- is dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finist#65533;re, "the end of the world," his life begins to change.

In a playful, headlong style, and with enormous affection for the Bretons, Greenside tells how he makes a life for himself in a country where he doesn't speak the language or know how things are done. Against his personal inclinations and better judgments, he places his trust in the villagers he encounters -- neighbors, workers, acquaintances -- and is consistently won over and surprised as he manages and survives day-to-day trials: from opening a bank account and buying a house to removing a beehive from the chimney -- in other words, learning the cultural ropes, living with neighbors, and making new friends.

I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do) is a beginning and a homecoming for Greenside, as his father's family emigrated from France. It is a memoir about fitting in, not standing out; being part of something larger, not being separate from it; following, not leading. It explores the joys and adventures of living a double life.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2008
ISBN: 9781416586876
Branch Call Number: ANF 944.10839 GRE
Characteristics: ix, 244 p. ; 23 cm

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b
bgoughlibrary
Sep 12, 2017

I've read this book twice and enjoyed it just as much both times! It helps that I, also, love anything French. I found it to be enjoyable and light-hearted while also thought-provoking, in its examination of the differences between American and French cultures and lives. The honesty and self-deprecation of the main character is a refreshing change and only serves to make the storyline more convincing.

s
Spirit_of_Che
Jul 08, 2017

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as I greatly enjoyed Peter Mayles stories of living in France. Sad to say, I was greatly disappointed. The story itself was fairly well written but the main character comes off as a juvenile schmuck. How the author succeeds in life is a mystery to me, if this book is any indication of how he lives. Without the help of his girlfriend, mother, and especially his neighbor, I don't know how he would survive at all.

Like I said earlier, this story would be much more interesting if the main character was in his 20s rather than his 50s.

Go read Peter Mayles books instead, they are wonderful.

m
matcat44
Jun 09, 2017

An amusing tale told well. I think there's a little fiction in as well, since in one incident he contradicted himself. Still it was a fast fun read.

j
jagger66
Mar 20, 2017

Amusing , sets a good pace , worth a read

c
Cecilturtle
Aug 11, 2013

Charming little book about one man's adventure in changing his life. Despite Greenside's tongue-in-cheek observations, it's very clear he is enamored with France and his new neighbours and friends. While he may never be French, he has a deep respect and admiration for all things French - perhaps to the detriment of true observation. I'm a little suspicious of this unending generosity, common sense and joie de vivre: like everything, yes, all in good dose and never in all circumstances!
Nonetheless a fun, light read which will bring nostalgia to anyone who has enjoyed France.

n
nimradar123
Jul 06, 2012

very funny loved it #imagineteencontest

u
Ulla11
Jun 06, 2011

Funny, funny, funny!!! Trials and tribulations of a hapless American among the perplexing Bretons (not the French!). A laugh out loud read that sheds light on another culture. I wished it had gone on and on...

m
Micenkova
Mar 13, 2011

This book is pure pleasure to read; soon after I began reading it I already started to dread finishing it. It is hilarious!

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