Leftbanker's Reviews > A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
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's review
Sep 30, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: travel
Recommended for: People who wear fanny packs and read Conde Nast travel publications.

It’s sad to think that there are probably dozens of great books about people who have moved to France that were rejected by publishers so they could take this book, which is completely devoid of insights, and shove it down our throats. The book has a wonderful premise in which a British guy and his wife move to the south of France and begin a new life. I think most people who read this book didn’t need much more than that. It is mostly the tedious description of the work he does on an old house and has little to do with France. I can’t recall a single entertaining passage in the entire book.

I give almost everything here five stars. I’m not a book critic but there are certain extremely popular books that just need to be eviscerated. Please explain to me why this book was popular? After I finished reading this I didn't think that I had learned a single thing about life in France.

I found zero sense of adventure in what he had to say about France. It’s travel writing for the rich which—at least for me—is usually boring. Instead of a book about an over-privileged douche bag paying people to fix up an old house I’d much rather read a memoir of someone who moved to France and actually had to work for a living. I rate this book down there with Under the Tuscan Sun.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 30, 2007 – Shelved
September 30, 2007 – Shelved as: travel

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Jen (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen I'm liking this review, but am reserving judgement on whether or not Mayles is a douche bag.

message 2: by Leftbanker (last edited May 16, 2013 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Leftbanker Richard wrote: "Try reading Orwell's memoir "Down and Out in Paris and London.""
I've read that which is sort of the polar opposite of Mayles' luxury experience in France.

message 3: by Giulia (new) - added it

Giulia I hated Under the Tuscan Sun as well. I am going to take your review as advice that I should not read a Year in Provence.. Thanks...

Jeremy Have read the Orwell. Great, but a champagne socialist account - a big call, I know, but he always had an out, and it read like that sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. Re: the Peter Mayle, the boy can write. Laughed out loud many times, even embarrassed myself on the train a few times. Pure escapism, and that's all I went into the book wanting. I really don't care if you've got more interesting experiences, if you can't write, forget it. Find another medium.

Susan Decker Charming and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Mayle's account of what
HIS year in Provençe was like. I also enjoyed David Sedaris' account of his residing in Paris for two years (Me Talk Pretty One Day).

It was not my expectation that this Mayle novel was going to give me great insight into the country's history or culture. He told his sweet story in a very light, witty and original way. I also found myself chortling to myself. And I rate it five stars.

Julie I don't think the intent was necessarily to learn about France. I think it was about ONE couple's experience.

Paul Shore Might I humbly suggest "Uncorked"?... full disclosure... it's my new book coming out Mar 20th. Regards, Paul.

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