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(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living


(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living

by Mark Greenside

Every year upon arriving in Plobien, the small Breton town where he spends his summers, American writer Mark Greenside picks back up where he left off with his faux-pas-filled Francophile life. Mellowed and humbled, but not daunted (OK, slightly daunted), he faces imminent concerns: What does he cook for a French person? Who has the right-of-way when entering or exiting a roundabout? Where does he pay for a parking ticket? And most dauntingly of all, when can he touch the tomatoes?

Despite the two decades that have passed since Greenside’s snap decision to buy a house in Brittany and begin a bi-continental life, the quirks of French living still manage to confound him. Continuing the journey begun in his 2009 memoir about beginning life in France, (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living details Greenside’s daily adventures in his adopted French home, where the simplest tasks are never straightforward but always end in a great story. Through some hits and lots of misses, he learns the rules of engagement, how he gets what he needs–which is not necessarily what he thinks he wants–and how to be grateful and thankful when (especially when) he fails, which is more often than he can believe.

Introducing the English-speaking world to the region of Brittany in the tradition of Peter Mayle’s homage to Provence, Mark Greenside’s first book, I’ll Never Be French, continues to be among the bestselling books about the region today. Experienced Francophiles and armchair travelers alike will delight in this new chapter exploring the practical and philosophical questions of French life, vividly brought to life by Greenside’s humor and affection for his community.


I have been having the time of my life the last two days and the reason for that is this book. Goodness but this book was fun!

I was kindly given an ARC of this book by Edelweiss for an honest review in return.

When I looked at the cover of this book, I was immediately drawn in. Yes, I know, don’t judge the book by its cover. In this case, however, both the cover and the book were fantastic and worthy of being judged.

Gosh, what can I say about this book? From the very beginning, it sets a lively, humorous tone. I loved the way the author wrote his experiences in France, with the way he wasn’t quite there with the language, the culture itself. How he messed up his interactions multiple times in various horrifying yet hilarious ways. His approach towards the whole thing made it a really enjoyable read. I must say that I wasn’t expecting to laugh quite so many times but I did. Genuine laugh out loud moments.

He’s very honest about his failures in his language, and how much he’s become adventurous when it comes to food because of the French people. The way he is constantly surprised by the different and sometimes better ways of doing things in France. I am so glad he has friends who are French and help him out because otherwise, oh boy.

I have to admit that I hadn’t really read anything like this before but I guess I started with a bang in this genre because boy, this book is fun! It’s a delightful read and seriously, I feel like everybody should give this one a chance, there would be no regrets.

I think if you love to read about travel, would love to learn more about French living in general and have fun while you are at it, then this is the book for you. It is seriously a fun and yet, a bit educational read.

Have you read anything like this? Do you have favourites? If so, then please, don’t hesitate to share those with me. I am always up for reading a new book, I hope you know by now.


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