Most helpful critical review
60 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Ina's summer vacation
on May 17, 2004
Preciously and annoyingly written ("[t]hat first visit to the Dordogne region was permeated with a magic I still remember as though it were yesterday"; "I can't explain what happens to the quality of light in the Loire Valley between Amboise and Blois"), Caro goes on for pages at a time reciting her trite reactions to French buildings and locales. Using Amazon's "search" function, you will see dozens of references to "Bob," "restaurant," "car," and "waiter," for example. There are more references to French waiters (stereotypically negative) than there are to bastides, for example.
Life is too short to read about someone else's mundane driving errors, or poorly described meals in order to make it to what is a quick and eclectic discussion of French history, seemingly ordered by a pre-set tourist itinerary. There's no real need to read about Bob and Ina's rushed meal at a fancy restaurant in Carcassonne in order to make the two o'clock castle tour. Once you get through that, however, you get to read about the tour guide, "dressed like a reject from the hippie movement of the sixties" in "a rumpled T-shirt and dungarees, [whose] blond hair was coiffured in oily shoulder-length curls--a style [Ina] is not particularly fond of in men."
This seems to be a "how-I-spent-my-summer-and-deducted-it-all" travelogue more than a serious effort at providing a travelers' history. We get someone else's tour reviews, bad lunches, good lunches, missed exits, oversleeping. If you are looking for Ina's history, with some observations about France tucked in, this may be for you.