> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review: (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge,from Skyhorse Publishing via Edelweiss, for blog review purposes on this blog. No compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.



The hilarious follow-up to I’ll Never Be French, about which the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Imagine Larry David . . . spending a summer in a French village—against his will, of course—and you get some sense of what Mark Greenside goes through.
 




Synopsis:

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?


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.


Review:

I confess, I have a dream of running away to Breton area of my ancestors. What stops me is my lack of speaking French- I can read it well enough, speaking? No go! So instead, I can live out that dream through books like these, where I can read about my fellow Americans stumbling along as I would! Note- I had not read Mark's previous book, so this was my entry to his Breton world!

 I should warn you, this is NOT a book to read out in public, due to frequent snorting and gleeful laughter, you will NOT be able to contain! Many times Miss Grace stopped and asked "MOM, what are you hysterical about?", as I was leaned over crying I was laughing so hard (especially about how Mark came to learn about French grocery stores and shopping carts, or how he killed his rental car). Throughtout the book, you might pick up some French language too. I would suggest reading it with food handy, as some of the meal descriptions will leave you salivating! If you are looking for a book to take you away from the Winter blues, THIS is the book!

About the Author:

Mark Greenside has been a civil rights activist, Vietnam War protestor, anti-draft counselor, Vista Volunteer, union leader, and college professor. His stories have appeared in The Sun, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, The Nebraska Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The New Laurel Review, Crosscurrents, Five Fingers Review, and The Long Story, as well as other journals and magazines, and he is the author of a short story collection, I Saw a Man Hit His Wife. Greenside's memoir about life in France, I'll Never Be French, remains one of the bestselling books about Brittany since its release in 2009. Greenside resides in Alameda, California, and Brittany, France.

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