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Opposites Attack: A Novel With Recipes Provencal Paperback – April 22, 2013
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Sparkles like fine champagne and feels like a Truffaut romantic comedy. Richard Goodman
A love story perfect for a rainy afternoon. NPR's WFDD
A fun tale and a nice testament to Maeder's versatility. Miami Herald
A dash of dysfunction, pinch of love, dollop of mystery. Marinate in a romantic setting. News & Record
I wish my first stay in France had been this delightfully wicked. Teresa Engebretsen, The Sabbatical Chef
Filled with gutsy good humor. Armchair travel at its best! The Country Bookshop
From the Author
The inspiration for Opposites Attack came after I attended a total-immersion language school in Hyères, a heavenly part of France where Provence and the Côte d'Azur meet. I was only able to stay for two-weeks and as a result I entered speaking like a one-year-old and left speaking like I was two. But I found a delightful way to experience a new country, especially as a single woman. At the same time I was pondering why people sometimes end up with the opposite of what they say they want in a mate, and the converse--why do matches made in heaven turn incendiary? How far should you compromise when your love has enough baggage to fill a moving van? Can someone really change? When you have a child with someone you never married, is it possible to truly move on if you can't divorce? I was also trying to stop falling for unpredictable creative geniuses or stop expecting them to be "normal."
If this book inspires you to travel, take a cooking class, learn a new language, tout nouveau, tout beau!
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The strength of this book is that the lead characters gradually grow on the reader as they grow on each other. The novel is mainly played as a social comedy in which the strengths and weaknesses of the American and French characters are gently exposed and ridiculed. The author's keen eye and ability to place her characters in places that highlight their peculiarities help move things along. She sees things from both the American and French points of view and is particularly withering when dealing with snobbery from either quarter.
Of course, French cooking and wine eventually win over Alyce. She is seduced by beauty and the sensuality of the Provencal landscape combined with the tastes and smells of its food and wine. But Jean-Luc too is redeemed by an injection of Yankee no-nonsense, can-do, get-up-and-go energy. I guess the central theme is captured by an incident where Alyce is attacked by a wild boar. Like Annie Oakley, she gets out her gun and repels the attack. The boar is then lovingly butchered, marinated and served al fresco together with delicious wine to a boisterous group of friends. It's the perfect marriage of France and America.
Opposites Attack is charming,compelling, and completely readable. After you are through enjoying this literary confection, pick up Jo Maeder's first literary offering, "When I Married My Mother," a book so good, I almost needed to invent new words to describe how wonderful it is.
I wish I could give it more than five stars.