Playing House in Provence: How Two Americans Became a Little Bit French

Mary-Lou Weisman. iUniverse, $13.99 trade paper (182p) ISBN 978-1-5320-2534-1
In this funny and candid account of four monthlong stays in Provence over four seasons, memoirist and biographer Weisman (My Middle Aged Baby Book) hoped to realize an old fantasy of becoming “so French that we wouldn’t like Americans either.” Trying to recapture her youth in late middle age, Weisman and her husband rented a house in the south of France in 2003 and anchored their “experiment in international living” around a routine of French lessons, excursions to the outdoor market, elaborate culinary exchanges with new local friends, and trips through the countryside. Weisman excels at identifying human foibles: during a dinner party for which they are furiously preparing, the couple realizes that cultural immersion will not change the pace of their life at home (“if we can’t relax in Provence, it’s unlikely we’ll be laid back at home”); shortly thereafter, the couple admits to themselves that “we would rather become French than learn French.” Throughout,Weisman enthusiastically shares with readers the “moments we live for”: good food, wine, and conversation. Particularly for the over-60 set with a penchant for “riding in the slipstream of our own childhoods,” this will be an enjoyable study in how to be at one’s “faux finest.” (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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