Top positive review
Taking that dream journey abroad
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2016
This is the story of a woman who fell in love with the French language as a child and planned to spend a year abroad while in college but due to circumstances (I don't want to be too specific here and give away part of the story) wasn't able to go. Thirty years later she decides its always been her dream to live in France, so she goes. This is a novel plot, setting this book apart from so many adult-abroad stories where someone buys a vacation home or moves permanently. And it does take a lot of courage to just pick up and go to another country. Kids studying abroad have housing arranged, school during the day, and are among lots of others their own age.
But I found this book less satisfying than I hoped (really a 3.5 star rating) for two reasons. First is the relative brevity of the book and many accounts in it. The book is written in a chronological order with mostly short chapters, some organized around months. January, 8 pages. February, 6 pages. Certainly there was more to be said? Among other pursuits the author has done freelance writing so she is very good at capturing a scene or an encounter. They really are a joy to read. But for example she'll bring up a trip with a friend and after a few pages when you're hooked on the story, they've found the right trains to that charming village, the account abruptly ends in a few more sentences.
The 2nd reason I downgrade my rating a bit is the self-affirmation tone, especially present in the first part of the book. The end of each chapter almost felt like a written form of that Saturday Nite Live skit "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" I understand that the author had a strained relationship with her mother, and Lord knows it takes courage to go off alone to a small village in France. On the one hand it is her story and I'm sure this is the way she experienced it and its meaning. So for those looking for a book heavy in metaphor and meaning they can apply to their own life, for encouragement to make a change or take a chance, this may be a great read. But for those looking for a story without a generous serving of affirmation psychology they may find too much of the latter and not enough of the former.