Say bonjour to a whole new way of life!
Take one French widower, his two young children, and drop a former city girl from Chicago into a small town in southwestern France. Shake vigorously… and voilá: a blended Franco-American family whose lives will all drastically change.
Floating on a cloud of newlywed bliss, Samantha couldn’t wait to move to France to begin her life with her new husband, Jean-Luc, and his kids. But almost from the moment the plane touches down, Samantha realizes that there are a lot of things about her new home—including flea-ridden cats, grumpy teenagers, and language barriers—that she hadn’t counted on.
Struggling to feel at home and wondering when exactly her French fairy tale is going to start, Samantha isn’t sure if she really has what it takes to make it in la belle France. But when a second chance at life and love is on the line, giving up isn’t an option. How to Make a French Family is the heartwarming and sometimes hilarious story of the culture clashes and faux pas that , in the end, add up to one happy family.
I’ve been working on learning French for what feels like forever (more so me getting busy and French lessons being on the back burner. French isn’t THAT hard). So when I was given a chance to review this memoir about an American woman moving to France, I was already interested. I loved this book so much that I actually bought a paperback copy to have on my shelf.
The author is really funny. But not in a “I’m desperately trying to be funny in a dry way”. (Dear Author- don’t ever feel bad about that garlic press. You did NEED that). She’s funny because you can see her going through these experiences. I’ve not gotten to travel abroad, but I’ve traveled across the US a lot and I can tell you the weird insecurities you start to feel are entirely real.
There is a scene in the beginning and the author is going to the market. And she only has her basket. She’s quickly realizing her basket is heavy and then she still has more to get. Y’all, I swear I have done this so many times. As I was reading that scene, I felt my shoulders sag in defeat for our heroine. You arms are full, you’re walking in an environment you aren’t entirely used to and in the big scheme of life, its not a big event but at that time, it can feel so overwhelming.
One thing I truly enjoyed about this memoir was seeing true aspects of French life. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy seeing glamorized Parisian stories where everything is fabulous and beautifully outrageous and romantic. But that isn’t really reality, and getting to see a side of France that most don’t see was most enjoyable for me.
We also see this new French family coming together in other ways. Where kids are involved, there is always push and pull. While some of these scenes aren’t always the funniest/cutest/quirky stories that some want in a memoir, I appreciated seeing them here. The author has made a huge change in her life and not all change is pleasant. It can become pleasant over time, but that doesn’t mean everything you experience in the moment is this grand experience.
If you are interested in the French way of life, and also a heartwarming tale of love and life, then you’d definitely enjoy this memoir from Samantha Vérant.