Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yet another book about France...

My dear English friend (the one with 6 kids, not the one who teaches at school) has shared her copy of a new book by yet another Anglo-Saxon (this time English) about life in France. It is aptly named, The Secret Life of France.

It is amusing, and well-written. I'm mostly enjoying it. However, she makes some serious statements damning a nation's people when her experience is, well, limited to that of a wife of a wealthy and superbly well educated Frenchman of the definitely upper bourgeois class.

Apparently, in such a situation, finding marvelous and true and deep friendships amongst women is near impossible. They're all out to be the most elegant, sexy, alluring to the many (or too few?) men in their world and this competition crushes the possibility of true connection.

What a shame for her is this is her experience. I will testify that it took me some years to make good friendships with women in France, but this is more for their skittishness that you will leave. As a foreign-born woman, are you someone who they can hold in their heart for a life-time? Or will you skip out when the going gets tough? As such, there are perhaps a few more barriers to cross before these very special frienships are offered.

Yes, I do have dear friends. Friends I can count on. Friends I can confide in. Friends who shore me up when the times are difficult. Friends who are honest with me, supportive, at times critical, but with love. I can laugh, hug, cry with them.

As I work my way through the book, I learn that Parisians (of a certain class I assume) have different mores when it comes to sex within and ouside of marriage. Again, I didn't experience this in Provence. Outside of the capitol, fidelity is definitely the preferred way to live and divorce is often the result of infidelity. But then again, duplex apartments in the 16th and castles on the Loire are not being put at risk.

I'm still reading, and finding her observations about politics and other elements quite interesting, at times elucidating. I'm not finished. In any case, one of the details of her story that interests me is she in the end gave up on French men and married an Englishman. They live in France, so you could say she's got the best of both worlds.

Curious. I'll write more when I get to the last page.

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