My name is Lyda, and I will never be French.
Oh, how I wanted to be. I studied French in high school and college, and wrote horrible and pretentious poetry in French. I practically memorized “Le Petit Prince“; I still have the copy that I bought in high school. I wanted to perform Molière in French. I wanted to move to France and haunt the Louvre. I wanted to wear black and sit in smoky cafes and look mysterious and tragic. I wanted to have a passionate love affair with a mysterious Frenchman.
I just knew France would be like this.
So of course I grabbed up “I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany” by Mark Greenside when I spotted it in the New Books section of the library.
The American author did not want to be French, but was dragged to Brittany by a girlfriend. He reluctantly fell head over heels for the people and the place. The relationship didn’t last, but his love affair with France did.
His book is a funny, quirky, personal account of learning to live in a country where he doesn’t understand the customs or people, doesn’t speak the language, and doesn’t know how to do the simplest things. It’s a story about learning to let go and trust – neighbors, acquaintances, strangers – and becoming a part of something strange and different.
I love this book, and highly recommend it, whether you’re a Francophile or not. And this counts toward my completion of Pollyanna’s Reading in Wonderland Challenge , fulfilling challenge #3:
“How doth the little crocodile”: Read a biography or autobiography about someone whose life is/was vastly different than yours. Or, read a history book or historical fiction about a completely different time or place.