Sunday, March 13, 2016

24/7 French Lessons: My Quest to Learn French in a Dordogne Village by Karen Eberwein

It is true for me that I regret not learning a language when I was younger.  I do not have much of an "ear" for language; I am so used to hearing an American mid-west accent that anything else throws me off completely, and I have to really pay attention to what people are saying to understand them.  Yes, sometimes even when I travel around the U.S.  All the more reason to get out and travel!  

Karen Eberwein did what most of us would love to do:  spend a year in France, in a small village, learning the language by conversing with folks at the market, at the cafe, during political functions, and visiting neighbors in their homes.  Total immersion.  Her book 24/7 French Lessons takes us to the Dordogne area of France, where Karen rented a small home in Cenac et St. Julien, took weekly French lessons with a small group of women, and had a remarkable experience.  Blowing through a country as a tourist can be exhausting and once done, leaves you with a bit of melancholy:  what did I miss in my haste?  Why couldn't I have slowed down, and just enjoyed my surroundings?  We all know it's impossible to see everything, so the smart thing is to stick to a few places, talk to people, walk around, and take it all in slowly.  Karen does just that, and finds that the people she meets appreciate the time and effort she puts into understanding their language and lifestyle. Folks are more forthcoming in conversations, more willing to let Karen see the behind the scenes of a typical day as the village baker, a chef, a politician.  Her sincerity and life-long love of France shines through this memoir.

24/7 French Lessons is sprinkled throughout with photos that add to Karen's adventures, and show just how beautiful France is, even during an especially soggy year.  My only issue with this memoir is the size of the book; it would be easier to read in a small package.  I am afraid at first glance potential readers may think it is a workbook and not a memoir.  

7/10 for a lovely memoir about living your dream.  It is never too late to learn a new language, and always a wonderful idea to explore another country without all our tourist baggage and a healthy respect for locals.  

Available in paperback on Amazon.  Thank you Karen for a review copy!  

1 comment :

  1. I have always wanted to do that: live in another country/city/town for 6 months or a year and learn its ways and its language.