Debra Ollivier is a California girl who’s lived in France for 10 years. There she married her husband, had two children and discovered what being a French girl is all about, beyond the stereotype of thin and stylish. And let me tell you, it's not all about wine and cheese and fancy lingerie.
I’ve always had a soft spot for all things French. Some of my favorite authors are Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas Pere, Anne Golon and I dream of being able to read their books without translation. The little black dress is an absolute must have and French onion soup and a piece of baguette make a perfect lunch. The little cafes seem beyond enchanting and La Vie En Rose makes me have goose bumps every time I hear it. And last but not least when I look at pictures of Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tatou and Juliette Binoche I admire their ability to look so effortlessly chic. It is no wonder then that I’ve been picking up books about French women and what gives them that mysterious and self-assured presence and the ability to look so put together no matter how casually they dress. My most recent find is this book and I’m glad to have stumbled upon it. At first glance it’s like All You Need To Be Impossibly French but that’s only at first glance.
This book talks about who the French girl is on the inside, as much as on the outside and it truly is a fun and thought-provoking read. Here Debora Ollivier talks about all the different aspects of a French girl’s life. She discusses the way she dresses, the way she takes care of herself and her family, the way she cooks and entertains, the way she works and spends her leisure time, but that’s not all. She also talks about the way the French girl raises her children, nourishes her mind and focuses on nurturing her true self, not changing her personality according to the latest fad self-help book. According to Mme. Ollivier the true French girl is discreet, selective, private and self-contained and her shape and size have little to do with her level of confidence because she knows who she is and she owns it completely and flaunts it without reservation. I don’t know about you, but taking a few pages out of a French girl’s book seemed like a good idea to me when I finished this volume.
Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed is that in addition to the author’s insights into the French life we also got little fun tidbits like book and movie recommendations, interesting quotes, recipes and comparisons of life in the States and in France. I laughed out loud reading about Pere Noel and Santa Claus, Halloween in Paris and a block party to which the Parisians brought their fine china. The only thing about these tidbits that I didn’t like is that they appeared in the middle of a chapter, in the middle of a sentence even, and until I figured out to skip them until the chapter’s end and then go back to enjoy them separately I kept feeling interrupted all the time, which as any reader knows is rather annoying.
I would highly recommend this book to any Francophile girl out there for a look at the French girl through the eyes of a girl who’s become French in a way. You can tell she loves her homes on both sides of the Atlantic and that gives the whole thing the air of authenticity the real French girl cherishes so much.
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