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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Book Review: My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle (audio)

Wow, hopes dashed. I thought this book had everything needed to hit it out of the park--I love memoirs, travel, and amusing snarkiness. This book is supposed to have all of those elements. Well, it is a memoir. And it takes place in France. But it was undelightful.

It seemed like a bunch of random, unrelated essays, spanning 50+ years, that were slapped together. I know Mr. Mayle died a few months before it came out so it could have been pulled together without him, and/or it may have been only lightly edited with him not being able to okay edits or do any rewrites. I just don't know. But that being said, it was a hot mess. Thankfully it's very short, but even at just 4.5 hours, I almost didn't finish it. (The narration was very good though.)

It's filled with cliches. Isn't it ridiculous when English-speakers (for once the example was not American so in that regard I suppose it isn't a cliche) who can't speak French, when faced with a Frenchman who doesn't speak English, resort to speaking more slowly and loudly? And how many annoying friends want to come visit/impose when you move to a beautiful location. It's very smug. It was delightful when Peter and his wife discovered this charming and delicious restaurant, which then got a Michelin star. And he won some awards himself. It ranged wildly. Topics ping-ponged from seeing-eye dogs to truffles to the mistral (a bad wind akin to El Nino) to how he was friends with Ridley Scott BEFORE Scott made Mayle's story into a movie starring Russell Crowe (who was late every day).

Anyway, I think this book will be a good one for his huge fans who have read all his previous books. I've only read one other and only gave it three stars, so I should have learned from that earlier experience and skipped this one. They can't all be winners.

I borrowed this eaudiobook from my library via Libby.

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