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French Fried: one man's move to France with too many animals and an identity thief

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  433 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
** New York Times bestseller **

Animals behaving badly, other people's misfortunes and the most bizarre true crime story ever. French Fried is the unfortunately true account of Chris Dolley’s first eight months in France and has been described as ‘A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.’

Just when Chris and Shelagh think nothing more could possibly go wrong,
Published (first published June 23rd 2010)
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Sherwood Smith
Jul 06, 2010 added it
Shelves: memoir, bvc
This is not just a memoir, it's a mystery, it's also a story of culture adjustment, and it's about animals. Chris and his wife are an English couple who decided to buy land in France for their menagerie. It was supposed to be a simple move, at reasonable cost. Like many others, they discovered the hidden pitfalls of moving when you have to do most of the labor yourself--and added to that, when it came time to get into their bank account, there was no bank account.

Someone posing as them had helpe
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
While this is my first time ever reading a true crime memoir, I found it very very interesting and I totally love it! Since I always love crime/ suspense/ thriller or what-so-ever close to that genre, this one is not hard to adore straight away. The good thing is, it's hilarious! Have you read a hilarious true crime memoir in your life? Well, this one is a good start. Very good.

First few chapters are full of unfortunate events happened to Chris. He can't speak French fluently, the wind roof off
J. A.  Lewis
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you are a Memoir lover, you will surely love this book. It is hilarious. I often can't sleep so pick up the Kindle at odd hours of the night to read. I was reading this one at around 3 A.M. laughing hysterically but trying to stifle it so I wouldn't wake my husband. Mr. Dolley and his lovely and saintly wife move from England to France to pursue their dreams. From the start of the trip (moving 2 horses, a dog and 2 cats) by horse van to his escapades of trying to license a car, speak with Fre ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
WOW! What an amazing story! There are so many different kinds of story in this book, really. It is an autobiography, it tells a lot about the unforeseen difficulties of moving to another country, even more so with that many animals. It is a criminal story - imagine having your identy and all your life savings stolen - I'm so happy that it turned out well in the end!
It is also a funny story, very well told.
But I do hope and believe that Sheilagh is a lot nicer in reality ;)

I really enjoyed this b
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately this felt very dated because it has taken much too long for this memoir to be published. What a surprise it was to learn this all happened in 1995, that’s fifteen years ago, come on ex-pat life has moved on so much since then! It read to me far more like a diary than a novel which I feel means it would have been far better to have been published at the time either in a magazine or newspaper. In fact I think this would have made perfect blog reading, but I am not sure how many were ...more
Martha Davis
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewer and it's the first book I've read on my husband's Nook. It's a great find on both. I won't give my opinion of the Nook here except to say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Now on to "French Fried". I'll start by saying it's not my favorite book title and that's the only negative about this book.

Chris and his wife Shelagh have decided to move from their farm in England to a farm in France. If you've ever moved from one side of town to the ot
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
When Chris and Shelagh Dolley move from England to France, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. But their problems with their animals, plumbing, cars, and language barriers seem small when they discover someone has stolen Chris’s identity – and their life savings. The case turns out to span four countries and the police in each country are of little help. Chris decides to investigate the case himself, along with the help of Shelagh, her 80 year old mother, and their puppy.

“French Fried” i
Derek Walsh
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2010
This is an engaging account of two Britons who, along with their horse, two cats and a dog, move to rural France where they are beset by a seemingly endless variety of problems, each more unlikely than the last. While some of the problems are par for the course (heating an old farmhouse, French bureaucracy etc.) and some are almost too cliché to deserve inclusion (misbehaving animals, difficult mother-in-law), the author generally makes the most of them. They have some genuinely major obstacles ...more
C Joy
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to C Joy by: Library Thing
Shelves: ebooks
I was one of the lucky ones who got this through the Library Thing Early Reviewers...incentive program or something to that effect.

The title and subtitle pretty much summarizes what this story is about. I have to admit I found it slow at first, maybe due to the exciting and fast-paced reads I was also reading alongside this one. The story about the disastrous move to France with the animals was a bit dragging for my taste, but I liked the author's writing style. It was very fluid and vivid I cou
Kate Laws
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chris Dolley is an incredible storyteller, I’d love to have a beer with the guy and just listen to him do his thing. This book had a very definite “Presenting my wacky life!” /jazzhands kind of feel to it, and it totally worked. This man and his wife decide to move in 1995 from England to rural France, despite the fact that they do not speak more than a few words of French. So many things go wrong, they can barely communicate in their new home, and then the author’s identity is stolen and most o ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lter, 2010, kindle, e-book
Possibly 2 1/2 stars but...

5th Sept 2010:
I am really struggling with this book. The fact that it is in pdf doesn't help but I read Burnt Shadows on my PC and loved it.
No, unfortunately, it is the writer's style that is causing me problems. I find him really facetious and sarcastic. He always expects the worst - and gets it.
Some of the things that have happened to him already, have the potential to be quite amusing but I haven't laughed yet, cracked a smile occasionally perhaps.
It's not a dreadfu
Christy Olesen
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christy by: BookBub
I love this book. A humorous account of one man's adventures moving with his wife and animals from Britain to the South of France. They deal with getting their horses across the Channel, an old farmhouse with questionable heating and plumbing, and knowing just enough French to get in trouble. Then they are hit by an identity thief. Chris Dolley's account of sleuthing out the culprit is funny, interesting, but a little drawn out.
This was my first experience with Amazon's new two-fer program. If y
Kay Sachse
May 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, reisen
Wer Bücher über Menschen sucht, die in der Fremde ihr Glück suchen, aber aufgrund ihrer Schussligkeit und liebenswerten Naivität sowie ihrer tolpatschigen, aber o so drolligen Haustiere allerlei Widrigkeiten erleben, ganz zu schweigen von den Merkwürdigkeiten Menschen anderer Länder immer wieder überrascht werden, der liegt hier sicherlich richtig. Mir war aber diese Anhäufung von Missgeschicken und Ungeschicken schon nach 10 Seiten zu viel. Die Übersiedlung von England nach Frankreich erwies si ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humour, ebook
Chris and Shelagh Dolley relocate to France with their menagerie of animals and are immediately beset by problems, niggles, and strife along the way. Just everything seems to be settling down they find they've been the victims of identity fraud.

I didn't enjoy reading this book at first- the tone is incredibly fast-paced which can sometimes be rather jarring, and the jokey tone right from the offset, too, can be a little difficult to follow, but by about midway through (pretty much around the tim
Shawn Dvorak
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chris Dolley's move from rainy, dank England to the sunny south of France was anything but smooth. Just the trials of getting to their new home were laugh-out-loud funny, as gale force winds threatened to blow them and their possessions to Belgium. The struggles only got worse as they tried to settle into their new home. Despite moving a relatively short distance, and the shared history that weaves England and France together, Dolley and his wife were often nearly helpless as they tried to deal ...more
Debbie Ellis
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Started reading 4/17/11. Not too far along yet. This was an enjoyable read. The author has a great sense of humor and a positive attitude through all of the difficulties encountered in his move with his wife to France. It is also very educational for anyone who is considering moving to France. His experience in buying a car, dealing with plumbers and obtaining a Carte de Sejour are given in descriptive detail. I am a bit particular about punctuation and was surprised that it was often incorrect ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chris Dolley delivers real belly laughs as he describes his emigration to France with his wife, a neurotic horse, a giant recidivist puppy and teo warring cats. The move, the house and its eccentricities (and there are many), the local people and of course the famous French Bureaucracy fill the pages with delight and at times despair. I didn't engage as well with the whodunnit part of the story, but that's just me, and not a reflection on Chris's writing. Keep them coming Chris ... when's the ne ...more
CJ Bowen
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Sort of the rambling relative version of a Gerald Durrell or James Herriot at first, then turns into first person true crime. There is definitely a story here, but it really only begins halfway through the book. The author can definitely turn a funny phrase, but also includes two other attempts for each successful line. Probably not enough material for a book, which is too bad, because it would make for a great article or two.

I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program
Jennifer Stevenson
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a true story, which blows my mind. He moved with his wife to France, where they bought an entire (abandoned) village and established a self-sustaining farm, but along the way he suffered identity theft and all his life savings were stolen. The French cops said, "You're English, talk to the English cops" and the English cops said, "It happened in France, they should deal with it." So he went and caught the thief and got the money back himself.

Pretty awesome! Also... FUNNY! You know how ad
Pati Nagle
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This one kept me chuckling. A tale of "What more could go wrong? Oh, that." Reminded me of Bill Cosby's sage advice: "Never challenge worse."

Chris Dolly is a witty writer and while this true-life story is a bit more stressful than his delightful "What Ho! Automaton," there are plenty of smiles to counteract the disasters. I thought I'd dislike reading about the identity theft but in fact I found that part of the story - and Dolly's intrepid detective work - the most enjoyable part of the book. T
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I read on my nook and it wasn't a bad way to start. I wasn't really into the book at the beginning, but as it progressed I started to enjoy it more and more. I would have liked translations of the French phrases, like the glossary that was included for some of the terms, but since Chris and Shelagh could barely understand the French, I felt like I was kind of in the same boat as them. And as someone who recently moved to a new area (although not a different country), I cou ...more
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This year I have resolved to include more nonfiction in my book count. This book is the first of the year. As a rather ethnocentric American, I've been a little bit fascinated by families who suddenly decide to leave the known for the unknown in a foreign country. This book is that kind of story, complicated by a twist of identity theft. The writer's style is conversational, amusing, and literary. It is a good read.

Amazon ebook
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Animals behaving badly, other people's misfortunes and a bizarre crime story. His identity stolen, life savings gone, and getting nowhere with the police forces of four countries, Chris is left to solve the crime himself. But unlike fictional detectives, he has an 80 year-old mother-in-law and an excitable puppy who insist they come along. sounds interesting, but was really boring.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
At first I thought it was over the top, the humour too contrived and the situations stretching one,s credibility . However as I read more and perhaps got used to the humour I found it hilarious . I articulately liked the dog Gypsy. She would not have lasted long in my house. All he characters were well portrayed .
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Would I recommend purchasing this book? Not really.

First half consists of Brit-expat-in-France material, centering on a drawn out description of the author's Catch-22 situation registering his car. The promised identity theft takes up the second part of the book, but even there I didn't get a sense of urgency. Instead, the "crime solving" came off as more of a lark, than anything critical.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read halfway through this. Life is too short and their are too many books to read to deal with this drivel. Guy and wife and their menagerie and move to France without learning language, laws and regulations, customs, etc. and has all kinds of problems. A big whoop and I don't care. It's on my too-boring to finish list.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: pl_peoria, nf_memoirs
It's a good way through the book before it gets into the identity theft issue / detective work, but an enjoyable, light-hearted read. As an American who has never traveled abroad, there is something compelling in reading about an English couple living in France only an hours drive from Spain and doing business with a company in Ireland.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arm-chair-travel
I know what you're thinking. Another travel book about moving to France. Yes, there's the requisite old house in need of refurbishing but this one adds in moving horses. It's a quick good read when you want to escape into a rural French atmosphere with a quirky narrator.
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
Won from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

I enjoyed this book very much. The mystery of the disappearing money wad quite interesting, as was the description of the home renovations, the pets, etc. I was less interested in the football games, but that was a minor part. A very run memoir/mystery/comedy!
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, bingo-2014
A really amusing account of a couple moving to France encountering many problems with the language and different working practices. The most serious being their identity being stolen and used fraudulently.
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New York Times bestselling author, pioneer computer game designer and teenage freedom fighter. That was back in 1974 when Chris was tasked with publicising Plymouth’s Student Rag Week. Some people might have arranged an interview with the local newspaper. Chris invaded the country next door, created the Free Cornish Army and persuaded the UK media that Cornwall had risen up and declared independen ...more
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“heated the water in the winter, storing the water in a tank, and in the summer you switched over to a gas-fired heater. Very sensible and it may well have worked four years ago when it was last used but it didn’t appear to want to work for us. We tried the gas heater first, we connected up our new bottle of Butagaz, turned on the tap and… Nothing. Was our system set to summer or winter? We went in search of the switch. Unfortunately it wasn’t obvious. We were told it lived in the cupboard behind the range but so did about eight others” 0 likes
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