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French Impressions : The Adventures of an…
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French Impressions : The Adventures of an American Family

by John S. Littell

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Set in 1950, this is the true story of an American family living abroad in France for a year. Although the setting is different, the struggles of this family trying to live in a foreign land feel so familiar!! Who knew 1950's France had so much in common with present-day China? Crazy drivers, waste-not-want-not attitude, kids and men peeing wherever they happen to be and people pointing and staring at the crazy Americans. Wendi, thank you SO much for sending me this book. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I want everyone to read this book, if for no other reason than the pure fun of it! I keep trying to decide who to send it to next? My mom? Gwen? Mariannette? You'd all love it!! ( )
  mysteena | May 24, 2010 |
Set in 1950, this is the true story of an American family living abroad in France for a year. Although the setting is different, the struggles of this family trying to live in a foreign land feel so familiar!! Who knew 1950's France had so much in common with present-day China? Crazy drivers, waste-not-want-not attitude, kids and men peeing wherever they happen to be and people pointing and staring at the crazy Americans. Wendi, thank you SO much for sending me this book. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I want everyone to read this book, if for no other reason than the pure fun of it! I keep trying to decide who to send it to next? My mom? Gwen? Mariannette? You'd all love it!! ( )
  mysteena | May 24, 2010 |
I was hoping for clever, witty, and charming. Instead I got self-involved and flat. ( )
  dianaleez | Mar 2, 2009 |
This was a perfectly lovely reading experience. The book has an amazingly contemporary voice. Wickedly, intelligent and charming humor is one thing that the Littell family had in spades. I chuckled and occasionally guffawed my way through this book. Very interesting observations of a post-war France. I didn't want to read the last page of this book. ( )
  mgaulding | Dec 24, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451205340, Paperback)

A year in France in 1950 for the Littell family was not exactly A Year in Provence with Peter Mayle. No lovely scenery, no edible delights, not even good wine. But the Littell's French adventures are certainly entertaining. Put an inept American housewife in a country entirely devoted to cuisine, and in the working-class city of Montpellier, "which made Cleveland look like Paris," and you have the makings of a madcap comedy with a heroine who might well have been Lucille Ball with two small children. Based on the writings of journalist Mary W. Littell and written in her voice by her son John, who was 4 years old when the Littell's went to France, the book follows the family of four from one quirky adventure to another. Mary, who is a failure at learning French, survives in her strange new home by speaking like Tonto--using simple words in the present tense, or in English and loudly when all else fails, and by buying up all the canned food in the city. She's a one-woman sideshow when she shops and accidentally starts The Great Mayonnaise War when the league of French housewives tries to teach her the best way to make mayonnaise (half insist on using a fork, the others declare spoon is best). Little John becomes Mary's interpreter (of French and French ways) while 15-month-old Stephen rarely stops crying. Mary's husband Frank reads his small children Great Expectations and is the world's most outrageous teller of historical tales. He also makes a scientific search of 52 bars. Being 1950, there's much cocktail drinking and the parenting is a bit archaic. Mary never does learn to cook, but, fortunately, she does learn that love and affection work better when parenting than yelling. French Impressions is a fun romp through a vanished way of life--both American and French--with a fabulous and witty storyteller. --Lesley Reed

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:35 -0400)

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