One of the unexpected benefits of starting this blog is the fact that l am now in everyday contact with stacks of other francophiles who love France just as much as I do.
Through Distant Francophile I’ve been asked to guest post and collaborate on a variety of sites. And recently, I was excited and honoured to be asked to review a brand new book – Karen Eberwein’s 24/7 French Lessons.
Back in May 2015 Scott and I spent a week at a French immersion language school in France, so I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Karen’s book – moving to France to immerse yourself in the language 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For almost an entire year.
The story follows Karen’s adventures in the Dordogne village of Cénac-et-Saint-Julien as she works to fulfil her dream of becoming fluent in the French language. For me the most charming element of the book is not necessarily about her success in learning French (although that was charming) but rather how she was accepted into the local community where she was staying.
Title: ’24/7 French Lessons – My Quest To Learn French In A Dordogne Village’.
Author: Karen Eberwein
Published: 2015, Paperback, 136 pages.
What I Liked:
- I really enjoyed reading about Karen’s dedication to learning the language and the creativity she showed in doing so. Some of her ideas were brilliant including spending time with senior citizens who were happy to have a visitor to chat with while at the same time helping Karen with her French.
- I also liked the insights into day to day village life that Karen treats us to. By integrating into the community she was able to experience things in so much more depth than the average traveller. Not too many of us get an opportunity to spend time at village meetings or behind the scenes in both the local boulangerie and the local restaurant like Karen was able to.
- The peek into French culture through Karen’s eyes was also lovely. I loved Karen’s description of the note that accompanied her St. Valentine’s Day long stemmed red roses – which had been kindly embellished by the local florist. I thought it was a lovely touch, especially given Karen’s husband Steve could only join her sporadically throughout the year.
- The photography – some of the shots are just gorgeous. My favourite is on page 60 of the book. It gives you a great feel for the character of the part of the world Karen spent time in. It also features blue shutters – and you all know I am a sucker for blue shutters (or volets as they are called in French).
What I Wasn’t So Sure About:
- The format of the book. The book is bigger than a normal paperback but not big enough to be classed as a ‘coffee table book’. I’m the sort of the person who likes to read in bed and the book was a little large to do this easily. However, I could happily curl up on the couch with it, which is what I ended up doing.
- The book jumps around from topic to topic. It doesn’t really detract – but some points do come across as a bit random and at times I really had to concentrate to work out where I was in the story, in the context of the year.
Having said that, my ‘not so sures’ were quite minor in the overall scheme of 24/7 French Lessons.
But at the end of the day, what really appealed to me about this book is that Karen is a fellow francophile who went and did what we all dream we might be lucky and brave enough to do – move to France and speak the language. And then she was good enough to share her experience with all of us.
If this dream resides in you (like it does in me), I’d suggest you have a little look at 24/7 French Lessons, which is available via Amazon.
Until next time – au revoir.
Please note – I was provided with a complimentary copy of 24/7 French Lessons, however all views contained in this review are entirely my own.