Tuesday, June 06, 2006

words in a french life

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I have just finished reading Words in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse. Based on her website, French Word-A-Day, the book is made up of vignettes of the daily life of Kristin, an American from Arizona, her French husband and their two children in southern France.

For those of us who have been long time readers of her website (French Word-A-Day was one of the first websites I added to my sidebar when I started my own blogging adventure), some of the stories are familiar, but many have never appeared on the website, and she even shares with us how she came to be living in France in the first place. Each chapter is prefaced with a French word, its pronounciation, and its translation, and is then followed by a charming story associated with the word. At end the of each chapter, we revisit the "word of the day" to learn everyday phrases that contain that word.

Kristin may claim that she's expressing her love of the French language, but I submit that she's in love with language full stop. Her stories of day-to-day living in the South of France are filled with such warmth and wonder that it's easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the same place. While the South of France and the North-East, where I live, certainly have plenty of differences, I found myself chuckling along at her stories of village life, which at times can seem like a different world from the larger cities of Nice or Paris.

Not only are the French lessons tucked inside very practical, but the stories are told not with the wry sarcasm of most other "Ex-pats in France" books I've read, but with genuine endearment and fascination of the world around her. If you're interested in books about Americans in France, I say put Words in a French Life at the top of your list.

No comments: