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French Lessons

by Ellen Sussman

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2723372,297 (3.2)5
A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.



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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I just picked up this book today and read it in about two hours. It's a quick read, and enjoyable.

The scene of Paris is set very well, I felt like I could be walking through the streets myself. I don't know if I will ever go to Paris. I'd like to hope so, but if not, then this book did a good job of giving me a brief, inviting glimpse.

There's a lot of sex in this book, but it's written about tastefully. It's a nice mix of rough and raw, and emotional.

I did have a hard time feeling for Josie, the woman who has an affair and loses her lover to a plane crash. She seemed to child like for me to really feel for her. From her converse shoes to the fact that her lover is only ten years younger than her father. She just hasn't quite grown up yet. Maybe the fact that she's pregnant with his child will change that, but we don't know much about what happens to her as she runs away from Nico instead of running away with him.

Riley, I felt a lot for. Her marriage is crumbling and she's in Paris while her husband works his business meetings and she stays home with her two children. Her two year old knows more French than she does and she has done about all she can to avoid really exploring Paris She has a sordid fling with her French teacher Phillipe.

She mentioned pain au chocolat so many times though that now I really want some. I've turned into a baker in recent months but have no desire to spend the time that I imagine it takes to make pain au chocolat, and no clue where to buy some.

I liked Jeremy's story too. His was more of a flirtation with Chantal, (though there were undertones of desire) but he is content, and passionate about his life.

The interweave of these characters with their tutors is well done. There were a lot of characters but they were all relevant to one another and not insanely confusing like A Visit from the Goon Squad (Obviously I still have not come to like that book)

Th ( )
  Melissalovesreading | Sep 30, 2018 |
I'd have preferred fewer graphic sex scenes, but the underlying stories were interesting. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Tale of three interwoven French tutors and their American students during one day in Paris.

Cliched plots and unimpressive characters, notably the first student who lies constantly,
do not offer much focus. Details of Paris attractions kept things moving. ( )
  m.belljackson | Nov 5, 2017 |
Character studies of 3 French tutors and their American students. Nico wants to save Josie. Phillippe wants to bed Riley. Chantal isn't sure what she wants.

I liked these stories. All of them take place on one day when a film is being filmed in Paris and each story ends with the filming. None of the stories has the ending I thought it would have. Both the tutors and the students have to take their pasts and make peace with them and then decide how to handle the future. The solutions I think were the best ones in each situation. They also seemed clearer for the Americans.

I would read her again. She has an interesting style of telling the story. I was never bored. I was always trying to figure out what would happen. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Aug 7, 2016 |
5-star writing, 2 star plot.
Ms. Sussmann draws her characters beautifully, but I'm afraid that isn't enough. We're probably meant to enjoy the personal transformations which happen on this single day in Paris, but, sorry, I needed more action. I did enjoy her more recent novel, [b:The Paradise Guest House|15797356|The Paradise Guest House|Ellen Sussman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361254799s/15797356.jpg|21520249], which does a better job of balancing character and plot. Both books, however, seem just a little too fond of the adjective 'astonishing'. ( )
  paulinewiles | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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For Gillian and Sophie, my Parisian girls, and for Neal, mon amour.
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Brilliant sunlight spills through the windows of the Vivre a la Francaise language school.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

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A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.
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