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What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind + Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl + All You Need to Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women
Price for all three: $34.24

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042523648X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425236482
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

American-born Francophile Ollivier follows up Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl with a volume largely concerned with uncovering the behavior and lifestyle of the secretive French woman. For instance, Ollivier pointedly debunks the myth that French women deprive themselves of fattening foods and drink in order to maintain a suitable weight, but reveals that French women are masters of portion control. She also recounts instances with her French counterparts-she lived there for 10 years, has a French husband, and divides her time between L.A. and Paris-in which she came to the realization that, in France, women genuinely love men, and vice versa; both strive for more compatibility between the sexes, radically diminishing the "battle of the sexes" mentality so commonplace in American society. Intriguingly, Ollivier contrasts the French desire for mystery against the American need for knowledge and control, finding in the discrepancy a possible reason for the ever-escalating American divorce rate. Ollivier is sure to dazzle any reader with a fondness for French women with this batch of anecdotes and corresponding hypotheses, drizzled with a winning combination of sarcasm and wit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Try it out for Gallic girl attitude GLAMOUR DAILY MAIL 'If you are in the mood for witty tongue-in-cheek non-fiction read WHAT FRENCH WOMEN KNOW by Debra Ollivier' Gabriela Popa, HUFFINGTON POST --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Debra Ollivier has written for Salon, Harpers, Playboy, Le Monde, and a variety of other publications. She's a California girl who married a Frenchman and lived in France, where her children were born, for a decade. She now lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Hearing what she had to say, I will not touch this book with a ten foot pole.
Robynn
Debra Ollivier does not bash American women or make us feel dowdy or drab for not being French or like the French.
April Blake
This book was a little disappointing because it seemed like much ado about nothing.
James R. Holland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By P. Greer on April 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I admit it. I find French women fascinating. What's funny is that I don't even know any. Oh, but I've heard about them, and read about them, and tried desperately to try and learn to tie a scarf with panache. So when I stumbled upon, What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind by Debra Ollivier, I didn't even think twice before adding it to my cart.

I've read lot's of books about French women, from what they wear to what they eat. This book was different. It delved more into why they are what they are. More than that, it helped me see why, as an American, I am what I am.

Like most other American girls, I grew up wanting to be like everyone else. Wanting to fit in, wanting to be liked. French women don't want to be like everyone else, they want to stand out, they want to add their individual touches. And as far as being liked....they don't care. They don't feel the need to be nice, to go around smiling at everyone.

Another interesting area was in child rearing. They are much more inclined to try and raise independent children. The author talks of the day care that her two year old attended. The daycare was taking the two year olds off on a two day field trip! The French parents all let their children go and enjoyed a lovely two days relaxing with their husbands, while none of the American women would let their children go.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. Do I think that French women are better than me? No. Do I think I am better than French women? No. Do I think that perhaps we could learn from each other? Yes?
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Sharilyn on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What French Women Know examines the differences between French and Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards love, sex and life in general. This is no dry in-depth cultural study. Rather it is smart, sassy and at times downright funny overview of opposing viewpoints.

Debra Ollivier extols the virtues of the French's devil-may-care, savour the moment philosophy, a stark contrast to American women's tireless pursuit of perfection. The book isn't really preachy, but the author makes her point very clear: the allure of French women is largely based on their capacity to keep their lipstick on as they roll with the punches.

This is a refreshing alternative to the "try harder, do more" manta of most women's self-help books. While I have no intention of moving to France or ceasing to shave my armpits, I do agree that it would be nice if we Americans knew the difference between making a living and having a life. Perhaps we would be happier if we took a few lessons from our French sisters and cultivated an air of mystery, acted our age, broke a few rules and flirted with more men.

4.5 stars
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lee Mellott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is always interesting to read how different cultures perceive life. According to author Ollivier, French women celebrate individual beauty, know how to handle the differences between men and women, embrace their own rules, don't mind a lack of perfection and enhance their femininity.

Ollivier shares how French women use these skills to their advantage. Clearly in many ways many French women have learned to live a life of enjoyment and acceptance instead of striving for a non attainable perfection and focusing on the negative.

In her book Ollivier points out the ways a French woman might perceive something vs. how an American woman might. This is not to say a French woman's way is better, it is just different.

For example, if a daughter bought her boyfriend home for the first time an American might give him the third degree immediately while the French would be loathe to ask personal questions. Which way is right depends on your thinking.

But what is so interesting is how it boils down to our approach to things and attitude. If you are unhappy with how things are for you now or want a little attitude change checking out the book may give you fresh ideas on how to approach things. Then again if all is working for you, no need for a book to learn about "What French Women Know" unless you want to know what they know just so you know :)

~ Lee Mellott
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By BLB on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
First off, be aware that the author is from Southern California and was apparently raised with so little culinary knowledge that she was impressed to find that a pie crust can be made from graham crackers and butter and that a man does not have to have gone to culinary school in order to know how to devein a duck liver. She was also raised in an atmosphere in which girls are raised to live in order to spend most of their social time in the company of other women, frantically trying to gain the approval of other women. No wonder France bowled her over.

If you are a woman who actually prefers the company of men, women who like men and flirting with men, and women who are nevertheless perfectly happy not being men, then you already know nearly half of what it took for French women to impress the author. The other half is fun to read, but be warned that the author commits the common Southern Californian sin of throwing her whole allegiance unquestioningly behind her current fad in intellectual thinking.

In other words, this is not a deeply thought-out work of comparing and contrasting French and American attitudes. It is a book about why the French amazed and charmed a Californian enough that she has become a French citizen. Even if you're not ready to drink the Kool-Aid--or should it be Orangina?--you might enjoy the safari.

Be warned: the audiobook is read by the author, not a professional voice actor. Be prepared to enjoy/suffer accordingly.
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