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What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Ollivier's manifesto belongs in that rare class of books that must be listened to on audio rather than read in print. Her performance of her own book is so delicious and pitch-perfect that it demands a hearing, if for nothing else than the hilarious recounted conversations between herself and various French female interlocutors, whom she presents with a faultless blend of Gallic style and nonchalance. Her accent is impeccable—to American ears, anyway—achieved during a decade of living in France and being married to a Frenchman. As she wends her way through love, sex, food, sex, child-rearing, sex, politics, and more sex, Ollivier compares American women's neuroticism and anxiety to French women's devil-may-care attitude. Vive la difference! A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 12). (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top customer reviews
I read most books like this because I'm a graduate student with an emphasis on French culture AND I'm married to a Frenchman. Ollivier's book, to me, is the best that I have read in this genre, and the one that comes closest to real French culture (aimed at a normal, female audience and not scholars). I would recommend this book.
The intoxicating allure of Sophie Marceau, the disturbingly deep dark erotic attraction of Eva Green, and seductive sensualizing hypnotic essence of Marion Cotillard all make perfect sense now!!! French women may not be as voluptuously endowed as their fellow female counter parts across the pond but their sophisticated "laissez-faire" demeanor and unapologetic sense of personal style, classic fashion awareness and impeccable taste places them on a whole different level. Debra Ollivier has definitely done her research, as one (an American male) who has dated French women from various regions within France, "What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind", is quite accurate in numerous areas.
Admittedly, many years ago, I was among the uninformed regarding the subtleties and nuances of dating various types of woman from abroad. I had somehow come to believe (I guess as a result from watching way too many foreign films...Lol) that most women were pretty much the same all round the world....how wrong I was!!! Every moment and experience shared with my former French loves took on a whole new meaning. Every meal prepared with fresh organic ingredients that we shopped for daily and shared with friends became a culinary etiquette masterclass for me. Every unforgettable improvised summertime picnic spent frolicking in the warmth of the sun, eating baguettes, cinnamon apple slices, and Brie de Melun cheese created luxurious landscapes of Monet's famous Giverny Garden within my minds eye.
Wine for the first time in my life took on an aromatic flair and seductive essence that only a seasoned lover could. Like an elegant bolshoi ballerina delicately dancing the first movements of Swan Lake, Cabernet Sauvignon leaped across my palette as if to enact a Grand Jeté. No room for egos here, my foreign amours were my teachers and I, their humble student. A education in french female etiquette worth its weight in gold was what I received as I seamlessly transitioned from one romantic relationship (and friendship) to the next.
Everything Debra Ollivier touches on was indeed what I witnessed. These French women
(ranging in age from 28-49) (From areas: Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Orléans, Nantes, Marseille):
1) Fashion style was classic, simplistic, yet incredibly chic and simply gorgeous.
2) They possessed a genuine Joie de vivre and realistic sense of life /work balance.
3) They purchased /ate/ cooked fresh foods religiously and did not eat snacks a lot.
4) If they did snack, it was on fruits, nuts, cheeses, things like that.
5) If they did have a big meal, they would plan to compensate for it usually the next day.
6) They "ALL" had closets full of various types of beautiful lingerie and made a point to have a budget set aside, just for these purchases.
7) They were well educated, extremely intelligent, very opinionated and had such an amazing uncanny way to fiercely disagree with your position on a matter while simultaneously loving and adoring you.
8) In areas regarding relationships, they saw shades of grey and not American styled puritanical black & white limitations. They seemed to intuitively understand that life was about phases and experiences, not necessarily a "Happily Ever After" goal post to continuously seek. They were present and lived life truly in the moment.
9) They held their cards close to their chest. With them it was not a "tell all" and "tell everything" about yourself session, the first couple of dates. They possessed an aura of mystery that literally fascinated me each and every time I spent time with them. To tell the truth, I'd say that's what probably kept me longing for them and wanting their company. Even if it was for simple fun intellectually stimulating conversation.
10)Their laughter, humor, and way of not taking themselves so serious made them devastatingly beautiful. It was easy to see and understand why so many men fall for French women.
It goes without saying, I highly recommend giving this title a try. Debra Ollivier's narration is simply wonderful. When mentioning various french women she spoke with, the french accent she uses is totally adorable.
I think Jason Clarke said it best regarding French women: "You need mystery. You actually do. I think that's what foreign women, French women in particular, are good at. There's still a sense that you need to keep some of the unknown because that's where the soul resides, or something.