At work today I somehow came across this book while trawling Amazon for promising-looking publications :
"One year and one arduous home-renovation into their marriage, Ken and Bing head to the French countryside to celebrate their long-delayed honeymoon, swearing they're getting out of the home-fixing business for good. When they fall in love with the village of La Montaigne Noire, they find themselves buying a fixer-upper and starting all over again - but this time, in French! McAdams recounts their mishaps and misadventures with humor, capturing the essence of French village life, the awkwardness of being foreigners in a close-knit town, the couple's hilarious linguistic pratfalls, and how the mammoth undertaking that threatens to tear their new marriage apart ultimately brings them closer together and helps them find a place in the community they have grown to love."
1) Bing - seriously? Is that one of those American names like Chip and Randy, or is she just crazy?
2) This is the exact plot of every single one of these books
3) Yeah, I *bet* those are some hilarious pratfalls... That time Bing asked if she could baiser the neighbours' baby will have you in stitches!
4) Where the frick are these French villages, where the locals love nothing more than giving up their time and casseroles to guide stupid non-French-speaking Anglos through the process of buying up their patrimony, hiding? Okay, I've never renovated a crumbling country pile in France, but I have lived in rural France and various small- and medium-sized cities and no-one's ever beaten a path to my door to view me with narrow-eyed suspicion before taking me to their metaphorical bosom and sorting out every problem I could possibly encounter. I think the closest I've been to this mystical experience is every French person going "oh là là, that's far away" when I tell them I'm from New Zealand. Um, yeah. I mean, I've never been invited to dinner by colleagues who are well aware that I've moved here not knowing a soul, so how do these people in these books, for whom 'bumbling' is usually a kind epithet, always manage to be hobnobbing with the small-town mayor within a month?
5) Okay, okay, while I'm amazed there's still room in the market for these things, I do realise these books are meant to be fantasy for people who will probably never stir out of their home in the American Midwest (or wherever)... Just bear in mind they bear very little relationship to real life! (And this particular example sounds like quite possibly the worst book ever...)
PS Do we say patrimony in English? We do, right? It's not just that I see the word 'patrimoine' at work on a daily basis?
PPS Stop me if I show any further signs of being one of those irritating people who are all "oh, I just can't speak English anymore, I'm *so* immersed in French!" Yep, it happens that the French word for something will pop into your head more readily than the English sometimes, but I forget words for stuff all the time at home in NZ too, let's not bang on about it on a daily basis.