Entre Nous (Debra Ollivier) – Review (Paris in July)

Entre nous : a woman's guide to finding her inner French girl ; [illustrations by Michael Storrings]Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier
Age: Adult
Genre: Self-Help
Location: France
Source: Public Library
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003
ISBN: 0312308779
242 pages

This may be more of a how-to book than a self-help book, but it all boils down to what makes a French woman so unique and chic compared to her American counterparts, and how Americans can incorporate some of those ideals into our everyday lives. The book is broken down into seven chapters, discussing the following topics: Life, Love, Food, Parties, The House, Work and Leisure and Conversation.

I wavered back and forth on this book a lot. I’m not exactly sure who this book is written for. The title of “French Girl” seems that its aimed to someone in their teens or early 20s. All the examples are based around older women in their mid 30s.  I had learned just as much, if not more, about the French woman from Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat.

To sum up the book, the French girl is: simple, introspective, cautious, mindful, guarded, serious and sensual. She thinks before speaking, thinks before acting. Puts great care into enjoying life and time focusing on one task at a time. Everything is carefully planned, event lazy days in bed reading a book.

One thing that really bugged me with this book is the format. Nearly each page has an aside box (sometimes an entire page is an aside box) that deters from the main topic, or offers extra insight. There are aside boxes for: movies, notable French women, musicians. Other aside boxes focus in on more detail of aspects of French life: table manners, grocery shopping, weddings. I skipped these aside boxes entirely as I read the book (making it a quick and easy read) and went back to look through them afterwards. I would have preferred to have the asides of notable movies and French women listed at the end as an appendix. The book seemed cluttered and often the boxes simply repeated what the author had written only 1 page earlier making the book seem highly repetitive. I also didn’t really like the portrayal of American’s as clunky and clumsy people with rude and gossipy table manners, even if its true to an extent.

I think there are probably better books out there on the subject, for someone who wants an insight into French life, this book is a decent start.

Book 27 of 2011

Find this book at your local library 

Read for Paris in July

2 responses to “Entre Nous (Debra Ollivier) – Review (Paris in July)

  1. Wow, you had a very different experience with this book than I did! Hrm, interesting. 🙂

  2. I just finished reading the book and found it very helpful and filled with down to earth practical wisdom we can carry with them throughout our lifetime.

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