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Merde Happens (Paul West #3)

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,699 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
In the acclaimed third book in the popular Merde series, Paul West winds up stuck in America, chin-deep in financial trouble. He and his French girlfriend set off on their journey, with hopes of escaping fiscal ruin. But as the not-so-dynamic duo stumble toward Los Angeles, via Boston, Miami, New Orleans, and Las Vegas, Paul’s plans for success, of course, turn to merde: t ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 2nd 2007 by Bantam Press (first published 2005)
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Aug 27, 2011 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Clarke still has his satirical humor in his favor, lampooning multiple cultures in one book, but the farcical plot twists of this book made it much less entertaining to read than the first two in the series. The whole set-up of the lamely named "World Tourism Competition" was pretty weak, at best, and the over-the-top misadventures with the failed tea party in Boston and the Mini convention in Miami were a bit too much for me. I enjoyed the increased role of the culturally and linguistically con ...more
Andri Wicaksono
Sep 07, 2008 Andri Wicaksono rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
From this book, I simultaneously able to learn three different culture, which were French's, American's, and English'. Stephen Clarke tells us a story about an Englishmen,Paul West, who's need a job badly to pay his debt when his restaurant in Paris was fined because its menu was written in English, and Paul didn't want to translate it into French.
Paul then applied for a job, and he got one. He has to promote his country, so that the American would vote Britain in World Tourism Promotion instead
Sarah Larasati
Apr 02, 2015 Sarah Larasati rated it really liked it
It was a good read. Love the humour and everything. The only thing that annoys me is the synopsis, though. It's misleading. I thought that "oh, it's going to be full of hilarious banter, as Paul tried to stop Jake hitting from his girlfriend" but that's a huge fat lie, as huge and as fat as the lies Tyler and Jean-Marie fed both Paul and Elodie. Jake appears only like, a quarterway (halfway?) through the book, and becomes background noise after Las Vegas. He never even rode Thelma WITH Alexa, an ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
This is the third in a series about Paul West, a Brit living in Paris. I had read the first in the series but not the second, however it didn't cause any problems in terms of missing vital information that was necessary to understand what was happening here.

In order to pay a fine, Paul takes on the job of promoting British tourism in America and embarks on a series of cultural events in cities across the country. His Parisian girlfriend, Alexa, comes along for the ride in a classic Mini. There a
Jul 14, 2014 Neveen rated it liked it
The author of this book is very talented, but the story is rather bland. I would imagine the plot to be quite constricting for him as a writer, unless the aim of the book is to be introduced to places and cultures, rather than follow-up on an interesting story. The author gets a star for his talent, a star for the incidents of the story that were attention-grabbing and a star for a few things that you pick up along the way, without feeling like you just rented a tourist guide from your hotel's l ...more
Aug 24, 2010 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
Merde Happens is an amusing book. You know how some authors try too hard to make everything funny? Stephen Clarke hasn't done that here. So although it's intended as humor and is based around a fairly ludicrous storyline, it's not packed full of inane jokes and events. Rather, there are lots of small bits of humor sprinkled throughout the story to be appreciated.

Usually I loathe most descriptions of physical things in books. They tend to be boring and unoriginal, the same throughout hundreds of
Jun 22, 2008 liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2011 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny-stuff
This is the third in a series by Clarke featuring Paul West, a British ex-pat living in Paris. This time, Paul takes his adventures overseas to America. But don't worry, he still continues to give his hilarious opinion on the French since his French girlfriends comes along for the adventure.

I agree with another reviewer that this may be his best of the series or at least as good as the first one, A Year in the Merde. Merde Happens was a quick read that had me chuckling to myself and looking forw
Jul 16, 2008 Robert rated it liked it
This is a light and funny book about a hapless Brit who runs a tea shop in Paris and gets in trouble with the French language police because his menu is in English. To pay off his fine, he agrees to represent the UK in a jaunt across the USA to promote British tourism. Wearing a kilt and driving a Union-Jack-emblazoned Mini, he travels from Boston to Miami to New Orleans to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, hosting various promotional events. They all end with mishaps. Friends from back home join him an ...more
Ankur Rastogi
Apr 22, 2013 Ankur Rastogi rated it liked it
"Merde Happens" is Stephen Clarke's third novel in his series of (mis) adventures. The difference this time is its not in France but based in US where he is promoting Great Britain.

The novel is practically a road trip across multiple cities in US and an interesting satire on US, UK and obviously France.
Like his last 2 novels, Merde Happens might not have a storyline but still wins because of the witty style of writing and quirky incidents.

This one is still better than the previous two as it fo
Anne Martin
Jun 23, 2015 Anne Martin rated it really liked it
This book is hilarious -like the other two ones. I smiled, then chuckled and laughed a few times, because what the author says is so true!It is a satire of everybody, French, British, American ones and it is funny.
Graham Tapper
Yet another highly entertaining saga in the story of "Paul West", so obviously a fictionalised version of the author himself, and his love/hate relationship with the French, especially of the female persuasion. As he needs money desperately he accepts a job to be the focal point of a lame attempt by the British tourist industry to win a national popularity contest in the US of A. We know it's all going to end in tears, especially as everyone in the contest is playing dirty, especially the French ...more
I have a special fondness for Clake’s brand of humour. I have enjoyed all three of these “Merde” books over the years. And they are all so entertaining! In this one, he takes on America and while I am VERY disappointed that he didn't visit Chicago on his tour, I still found myself laughing along with his over-the-top misadventures. It’s an enjoyable and entertaining read, and I'm eager to see what happens next with Paul West - and to see what projects Clarke tackles in the future.
I will continue
Jun 01, 2008 Turi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
I didn't have great expectations for this one - I'd read Stephen Clarke's previous two books in the set and enjoyed them, but this plot just seemed too convoluted. British ex-pat in France takes a job with an English tourist agency to tour the U.S. in a Mini (with his French girlfriend) and promote tourism. I wasn't sure how that was going to make a book. As it turns out, it made a perfect platform for Clarke to play up the madcap, slapstick style of his writing. Lots of poking fun at us America ...more
Lucas Cherkewski
Ack, mostly just fluff. Some good observations on French vs English vs American life, and all the (admittedly surface) references to French culture were enjoyable. Satisfactory ending.
Apr 21, 2011 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sam, Donna
Clarke's third book in the series. I was fully ready to take a ride on the British humor crazy train with him, and then he landed in JFK. What? This book is about a road trip across America? My friend Sam asked me, so why does it have a picture of France on the front? And what does this have to do with England? It has EVERYTHING to do with England. And France. And Scotland. And we see America through a witty lens of youth and naivety, or is it perhaps that Clarke is just always trying to see the ...more
Jul 19, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who's read the other two Merde books.
Shelves: own
A good, light-hearted read. I'd say A Year In The Merde is still the best of the three, but the other two are still worth reading.

In the end the twist was not as predictable as I'd feared, but neither was it particularly brilliant. And it came a little too quickly. Worse still, it intentionally creates something of a cliffhanger. Even if Clarke is already at work on a sequel, I consider this to be a pretty substantial cop-out. "I don't know how to end the book, so I'll just end it by hinting at
Jude Thomas
Jun 14, 2016 Jude Thomas rated it did not like it
Hated this book. I read to the end even though deep down I knew it wasn't going to get any better.
Jay Tate
Dec 03, 2014 Jay Tate rated it it was ok
Well, so much for Paris' charms.

Nothing good to say.
Apr 05, 2014 Tonia rated it liked it
Now that Clarke has matured a little his writing has also improved, most impressively with his writing towards sex and women. (There is little of both in the book as he is in a committed relationship with a feminist, French woman.) In this book Clarke and his girlfriend are crossing the US to put on special events on behalf of British Tourism in a 'friendly' competition. So far, I wish I was in the Mini with them during parts of their journey.

A fun book that tell the tale of a man observing a cu
Klaas Mansier
Jan 13, 2016 Klaas Mansier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that has you laughing throughout.
Oct 20, 2011 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litt-anglaise, vo
Nettement moins bon et moins drôle que les deux premiers tomes.

L'action ne se situe plus en France, le lecteur n'y trouve plus ce qui faisait le charme des premiers tomes, à savoir critiques sur la culture, le mode de vie et les travers des Français..

Quant à l'intrigue elle-même, elle est parfois tellement ennuyante que j'ai bien failli lâcher le bouquin avant la fin. Ce n'est que l'envie de connaître le dénouement dans l'intrigue amoureuse entre Paul et sa petite amie Française qui m'a encour
Sep 11, 2010 Luaba rated it liked it
Shelves: funny
Paul West's third adventure, this time in the U.S. This book is better than the second sequel with the author going back to what made the first book a success. Unfortunately, the setting is no longer in France and therefore, something is lost in translation in a way. The author relies on Jake the crazy poet to provide the french word of play here, and it feels much of a stretch. The longer one reads about Paul West, the less endearing. The sorry itself is very hard to get by into it, however, it ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Tereza rated it really liked it
After reading the first book of the series - "A year in Merde" I had opportunity to dig in the 3rd book which is taking a place in America. I liked it a lot - having my own past experience in living in the US and current experience of living in French speaking country, it was a great way of lifting above culture differences and look at them in fun but still not insulting way. The overall plot might a bit too crazy and weak, but it is the small stories and dialog which make this book so fun!
Nonethousand Oberrhein
U.S.A (yu.ɛs.ə.)
Following the events in Merde Actually Paul West, our unlucky Brit hero, is whisked off on a UK promoting tour, cruising by car (a very British Mini) the United States of America. Trouble is afoot and Paul will have to wiggle out a Franco-American diplomatic horror, while dealing with his Franco-British couple issues. A welcome change of scenery to avoid redundant jokes.
Jan 15, 2012 Xanthi rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was as funny as expected. The plot was rather convoluted and totally unbelievable though that didn't really bother me all that much. It was a light an entertaining read that pokes fun at the British, Americans and French. I don't think, after having read this book, I can see the word 'undercarriage' and not thing bad things. Hehehe.. I'm keen on reading the next book in this Paul West series, which is alluded to at the end of this novel.
Max de Freitas
Mar 12, 2015 Max de Freitas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best of the three in the series. Absolutely hilarious. Brilliant!
Abigail Parish
Apr 26, 2009 Abigail Parish rated it really liked it
Hilarious. My first of Stephen Clarke's "Merde" series, he had me giggling and absorbed during some pretty horrendous transatlantic flight delays. The book was a bit uneven in places, but there were enough dead-on humorous characters and scenes that had me well entertained. I was a bit annoyed when Clarke leaned too heavily on easy stereotypes for laughs (nearly the entire section on Louisiana), but Boston, New York and Miami were pretty fantastic.
Nov 21, 2009 Marie rated it it was ok
I picked this book up at the Brookline Booksmith because it was cheap and I liked Talk to the Snal by Stephen Clark. This book is hi attempt to make fun of american culture. I think he knows a lot more about french and english culture and should stick to what he knows. The book was fun and entertaining at times, with some witty comments about american culture, but he didn't make me give a damn about anything he was saying.
Jim Cabaj
Sep 29, 2015 Jim Cabaj rated it really liked it
I laugh and laugh, every time I read Stephen Clarke's Merde books. Each page has heart, joy, laughter, and absurdity.

In this book you follow his trip around the United States in a competition. Living in Florida, but not a native, I laughed about his visit here. It felt so real. I could see it all happening. When it got to Las Vegas, I was like wow. It was my perfect beach book for summer.
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Stephen Clarke is the bestselling author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction that satirize the peculiarities of French culture. In 2004, he self-published A Year in the Merde, a comic novel skewering contemporary French society. The novel was an instant success and has led to numerous follow-ups, including Dial M for Merde (2008), 1,000 Years of Annoying the French (2010), and Paris Revealed ...more
More about Stephen Clarke...

Other Books in the Series

Paul West (6 books)
  • A Year in the Merde
  • Merde Actually
  • Dial M For Merde
  • Merde in Europe
  • The Merde Factor (Paul West, #5)

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