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my little French diary: a sojourn along the Cote d'Azur Paperback – July 8, 2015
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I ran down the building's stairs and stuck my head out the back door just in time to catch a glimpse of a gorgeous babe with hair flying and an ear-to-ear grin speeding away from the student union at the wheel of a long top-down convertible (yellow as I recall) with two grinning and handsome young men (boys!) beside her in the front seat.
A few years later, in 1974, Karen’s two brothers and I spent some months vagabonding in dreamy and breathtaking southern France on $5 a day. What a delight, four decades later, to read her account of her seven months moving around the same region, and enjoying a bit more of the fat of the land than her brothers and I could afford in 1974. I have come to know Karen a bit over the years, and now more deeply through this breezy book she has written, and I find it interesting to note that my first quick indelible hair-flying glimpse of her was in fact accurate and prophetic: a spirited woman in direct pursuit of good times and a full life. She has worked hard at all her crafts (living and writing and photography) and has a knack for giving the reader just enough but not too much. Karen meets people effortlessly and mingles with ease — she comes across as the perfect person to encounter on a trip. There is something interesting on every page of My Little French Diary, and to me the book felt perfectly paced. If and when I am ever fortunate enough to go back to the Cote d' Azur, I will take this book with me and try to follow some of Karen's tracks and try to emulate all of her savior faire and joie de vivre. But now I feel like I've in fact already been back, and it was a return visit so satisfying and entertaining, so fully sating, that it might be better for me to never go back and risk a letdown. This trip with Karen was too much fun.
I'll end by quoting something Karen jotted into her journal one night, perhaps my favorite line of the whole book: "The more I follow my bliss, the more it follows me.” And it does show.
Via this book, I found myself in the beautiful town of Nice in an ocean view apartment. From there i was taken by the author for a journey with no itinerary, no grand plan but to live in the moment and record it all with words and photos. Oh the adventures! Can you imagine spending time in a monastery on a secluded island? Karen Jeffery did.
The author took me on this journey from my lounge chair with a wine in hand.
Karen Jeffery took me on that trip, that adventure. If you've always wanted to be that free spirit that lets the winds blow you, like Odysseus on the journey of his life, then this book is for you.
You won't read this book you will experience it. It's just that damn good.
Stuart O'Neill, Podcaster and Interviewer.