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Every Frenchman Has One Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 28, 2016
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New York Times Bestseller
“Delightfully witty... [de Havilland's] tone might be playful, but her talent was, and is, serious.”
“Charming, cheeky fun...[with] plenty of nostalgic pleasure.”
—Parade.com (13 Summer Reads That Are Must-Haves for the Beach)
“I found myself supremely enchanted by Every Frenchman Has One....[L]ittle did I imagine that this tome inspired by her 1953 move to Paris following her marriage...would reveal such a marvelous reserve of mischievous wit and self-deprecating humor.... Like a delicious collection of bon bons waiting to be gobbled, juicy anecdotal material is mined from an array of inviting topics.... A charming book.”
—Susan Wloszczyna, Buffalo News
“An undiluted pleasure.”
—Peter Tonguette, Columbus Dispatch
“A light-hearted but also penetrating look at adjusting to French life…[with a] surprisingly vibrant sense of humor.”
—Martin Rubin, Washington Times
“Disarmingly self-deprecating...[an] amusing outsider look at Paris.”
“An unending battle with law, custom, society, fashion… sales clerk and landlord… Who laughs last laughs best. She does and you along with her.”
—New York Herald Tribune
“A rib-tickler… excellent.”
—New York Mirror
“Lively and pleasant… wicked and roguish.”
—New York Times
“Miss de Havilland Tells All…”
“Her seven-year stint as Mme. Pierre Galante, a sharp-eyed Franco-U.S. housewife and what she found out about French husbands… a happy Jean Kerr-ish account… a funny one…”
About the Author
Olivia de Havilland began her film career at the age of eighteen playing Hermia in Max Reinhardt’s motion picture presentation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her films have included The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gone with the Wind, The Snake Pit, and Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte. Over the course of her esteemed career, she has won two Academy Awards (for her leading roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress), as well as two New York Critics Awards, two Golden Globes, and a National Board of Review Award. In 2008 she received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2010, the French Legion of Honour. She lives in Paris.
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Top Customer Reviews
For a lawyer like me, two bits of French law resonated:
a. A divorce cannot be final until nine months after it is filed; obviously a logical way to be sure the baby will be legitimately the child of the first husband -- and so in the Napoleonic Code before genetic testing was available.
b. Twin boys -- the second born has the superior position on the theory of first out, last in -- again a logical approach to determining rights.
The postscript added delightful information. The first edition was published in 1962 and covered roughly the preceding decade. In May, 2016 she gave an interview with some more measured judgments:
-- She never went to Paris as a child, but learned a French song about having a rose in one's right hand; years later she found it among a gift book and taught it to her daughter.
-- Except for a few close friends, no one knew her in Paris: "I had regained a precious property: anonymity."
-- The most important lessons from Parisian women: "tact, restraint, subtlety and the avoidance of banality."
-- The Paris Principle: "1. Discretion. 2. Discretion. 3. Discretion."
As a codger nearing 80, I've become a committed companion to a Parisian lady; de Havilland has taught me more than she could possibly know.
Robert C. Ross
It was an enjoyable read, and it made me hope de Havilland finishes her long-rumored autobiography.
In honour of her Centennial, this biography has been republished and I am so glad it was. Whether you know Olivia de Havilland from Gone with the Wind or her many roles opposite the swashbuckler, Erroll Flynn (my Daddy's favourite), she has always come across as such a lady. What you may not have known is she is also very, very, very funny.
The book covers her culture shock when she leaves America to take up residence in Paris. Her introduction to things Parisenne is filled with gaffes and laughs as she tries to function as an American, not in KIng Arthur's Court, but a land as strange and unexpected.
Her battles to find the things she wants and needs are hilarious in that she finds humour not just in the French way of doing things but in her reactions to it. Despite the fact that she wrote this tome over 50 years ago its agedoes not show. Her gentle self deprecating humour has stood the test of time.
Whether you are a fan or just someone who enjoys "stranger in a strange land" stories, there will be much to make you smile and laugh out loud here.
it is neither a long nor ponderous book so it would make for light summer reading. I give it five purrs and two paws up.