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Bonjour, Happiness! Paperback – April 1, 2011

55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A recipe for happiness with ingredients that you don't have to travel far to find.

Accustomed to the American pursuit of happiness, Callan (French Women Don't Sleep Alone, 2009, etc.) explores her French roots to find fulfillment in life's simple pleasures. The spirit of the book centers around the idea that: "In America, we've come to think that bigger and faster is better. But suppose it is the opposite smaller and slower is better?" Through her travels, interviews and self-exploration, the author reveals the importance of living in the moment, and she offers delightful recipes for living. If you stop gormandizing, you will enjoy your meal, drop a few pounds and maybe even find a companion as depicted in Callan's instructions for a Roquefort soufflé. She urges readers to sit down and enjoy their coffee, to be inspired by their surroundings. Through a series of complimentary anecdotes, the author asks readers to examine how they lead their lives. Why not take the stairs? Why not take pride in what you wear, even if that means merely putting on some sexy lingerie? Why not use the fine china more often? Even though the author traveled to France to discover the art of happiness, she gives tangible suggestions on how to live like the French no matter where you are.

Translates the joie de vivre into a language of life that is not so foreign. --Kirkus review for BONJOUR, HAPPINESS!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806534109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806534107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By HelloWriters on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of wonderful tales and ideas that offer sheer inspiration, and literally teaches each and every one of us to enjoy life and give ourselves a break!

The author, Jamie, speaks about Grandma. Grandma was a tall, slim, elegant woman, with jet black hair that'd turned silver over time. Grandma had the `French' inside of her and she was the essence of a lady who knew all about "the art of living." A tender moment that Jamie and her Grandma shared was when Grandma used to shampoo Jamie's hair, and twist it into curls that made her resemble Shirley Temple. Jamie absolutely loved it when Grandma did this, because not only did she take her time, but she also used to send a smile to her granddaughter in the reflected mirror. That smile held more than love; that smile spoke volumes about a woman who'd truly lived and enjoyed every minute of it.

In honor of her Grandmother, as well as wanting to find out exactly what it is that makes Frenchwomen seem far more happy and content than American women, Jamie traveled through France. Living and studying in a small town called Auvillar, Jamie threw herself into the French life - from everything to wine, cheese, and real butter - to how they feel about romance, and living life to the absolute fullest. The French woman - no matter what their socio-economic class, don't spend all their time worrying about money and how `skinny' they look. They have this amazing optimism and they truly love each and every experience - whether good or bad - simply because it is the "moment" that they're living in.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By EAO on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot stress enough how much I disliked this book. I am a total francophile. I love all things French. I really wanted to love this book and was excited to receive it. The more I read the book, however, the less excited I became. I barely managed to finish it. It has more to do with the author's disturbing memories of her unstable mother than it does with finding joie de vivre. The author talks about herself enough for the reader to get a strong sense of her; unfortunately she comes across as incredibly insecure, needy, and completely unoriginal. The book is poorly written and the tone conveys frantic desperation rather than any sort of joy. The few chapters that she begins to handle passingly well barely skip along the surface of the topic before rushing on to more bitter recollections. Whole sections of the book read like the author speaking to her therapist. It is neither in in-depth look at happiness and changing your life nor a light, happy, French-inspired read. Instead, it's a bizarre attempt at a light, happy read draped over a base of self-loathing and mother issues. I would happily include examples, but I already donated the book. I absolutely do not recommend this book, unless it's as a gift for someone you don't like, or someone with a very limited intellect.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Katie O'Sullivan on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Jamie Cat Callan's second book, BONJOUR HAPPINESS, is a compilation of observations and life lessons on how we can all discover the secrets to being truly happy. Jamie shares her thoughts with the reader through vignettes of her recent travels through France and memories of her French grandmother, all told with warmth and humor that make you want to read more (and join her on her French adventures!)

I connected with the author right from the introduction, when Jamie describes herself as a woman who often feels she is "not smart enough, not rich enough, not organized enough, not accomplished enough, not slim enough and definitely not young enough. All this to say I'm a typical American gal!" I thought, me too, and decided she might have some secrets that I could really use.

She does. With simple easy-to-take-home ideas, Jamie shows us how rediscovering our own joie de vivre is well within everyone's reach, no matter your age or body type. Halfway through the book, she reminds us that, "Everything you do in life has the potential to add to your happiness, your joie de vivre." You always have a choice, and throughout the book Jamie helps us see these choices and examine which ones truly make us happier.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By book lover on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Does the author know that the French are the largest consumers of anti-depressants in the world and that there are pharmacies on every street corner in the country? Does she mention that young women, not-so-young, and older women still represent an alarming percentage of smokers in this country and the rate is increasing? Do you know one major reason why women smoke here? To keep thin. Instead of eating a croque-monsieur or a tarte aux pommes at lunch, they light up a cigarette. Does she mention that up until a few years ago (it's starting to change now, thank goodness) you NEVER saw a group of women going out for an evening and that female solidarity is a rare thing in this country? When I first arrived over 20 years ago, I thought I'd go out for a drink and maybe a meal with my female colleagues after work (like we used to do back home). It didn't happen. They ALL rushed home after work to serve dinner to their waiting boyfriends (in those days they weren't even married or with kids yet!) I was shocked. French women see other women as rivals, not friends. Jealousy is like an illness here, you have to watch your back. A lot of French women (not all) feel utterly incomplete without a boyfriend, fiancé or husband. As I said, things are slowly changing now (for the better). The author is a tourist just passing through while making surface observations. I'm tired of all these women "tourists" writing their shallow books on cultures they know little about. I'm betting that Jamie Cat Callen doesn't even speak one word of French.
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