Wednesday, September 14, 2016

When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins


When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BEA '16; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryA language barrier is no match for love. Lauren Collins discovered this firsthand when, in her early thirties, she moved to London and fell for a Frenchman named Olivier—a surprising turn of events for someone who didn’t have a passport until she was in college. But what does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn’t understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does “I love you” even mean the same thing as “Je t’aime”? When the couple, newly married, relocates to Francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn’t understand her own kids—decides to answer her questions for herself by learning French. 

Review:

I picked this one up on a whim at BEA 16 because I thought the premise sounded great. Basically, Lauren Collins moves to England to continue working for a New York magazine, just in a remote location. It's here where she meets her future husband, Olivier, who speaks English, but is actually French. When the two end up in Switzerland because of Olivier's job, Collins realizes that she really needs to learn one of the biggest languages, which is French. This will also help her communicate with her boyfriend in his own language, as well as converse with his family, who only speak French.

If this were the whole of the book, I would have been very happy. I love memoirs and reading about people's lives, even if they aren't "famous names" or "celebrities." Lauren Collins writes for magazines, but I wouldn't say people know her based on her name. However, this memoir of sorts was really enjoyable. I'm from the United States and I can only speak English. I wish I could speak another language, but my classes never seemed to stick (French in high school, Spanish in college). I do believe we need to learn at a much younger age!

Anyway, in between true stories of Collins and the task of learning a second language, she shares various historical anecdotes concerning language. I found most of these interesting, and they did add a lot to what Collins was going through in her personal life. I wouldn't say I was all that interested in everything that was added to the book but overall, it was intriguing and I'm glad to have read it. I'd highly recommend to those who speak another language or want too, and for those of us who like to travel or want to explore the world more! 

15 comments:

Kindlemom said...

Interesting! Glad you did enjoy this even if it was a bit different.

Diva Booknerd said...

I like the concept of a memoir, but sometimes you can only really get into them if you've gone through a similar experience yourself. It sounds like it could have been wonderful had it of been a semi fictional romance but still a worthwhile read none the less. Great review Lauren and so glad you were still able to enjoy this one <3

Lexxie Lin said...

Huh... how did I not hear of this one when I was at BEA? I went to Geneva after high school, to better my French... And met my husband here, and stayed. When we first met, we spoke in English (foreign language for both of us) but then, as my French got better, we switched to French and have stayed with that.
You got me very curious now, so I'm adding this to my TBR :)
Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

Melliane said...

It sounds like a good one there! I didn't know about this one but it's true that the topic is interesting and it's fun tht the guy is French!!

Erika Sorocco said...

Oh, this sounds divine!

xx

Joyous Reads said...

Loving your choices lately, Lauren. I can only read in envy.

The Bibliophile Babe said...

This sounds really different and intriguing!

Jasprit said...

Oh this book sounds fascinating! When I visited Paris recently I really wished that I stuck it out with French in high school, because it sounded amazing, also I'm a sucker for a accent anytime! Thanks for putting this book on my radar! :)

Karen said...

I never did really well learning another language. A few words stick but that's about it.

My husband has a the German Rosetta Stone program but hasn't done it yet.

Karen @For What It's Worth

Tracy Terry said...

Loving what seems to be this trend for plain but eye-catching covers.

Hmm, not sure about this one. I'm not a big fan of memoirs/biographies etc unless I know of the person and have an interest in them. That said, Lauren Collins' story sounds interesting so this is definitely a book I'll keep in mind.

Grace @ RebelMommyBookBlog said...

I wish I spoke another language but it never stuck with me either! This sounds really interesting!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I was thinking about reading this one! It sounds really good :)

kimbacaffeinate said...

You really did discover some interesting gems at BEA Lauren!

Kate Unger said...

Sounds interesting! I am not usually a fan of memoirs, but this one is appealing. I may check it out. Great review!

Jennifer Humphries said...

I am a sucker for a good memoir. I love them! thanks for sharing your review on this.