ReReading Challenge: January 2009
Series: Yes – Book 1 of the Paul West series
Paul West arrives in
They do eat a lot of cheese, some of which smells like pigs’ droppings. They don’t wash their armpits with garlic soap. Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after pétanque. And, yes, they do use suppositories.
Less quaint than A Year In Provence, less chocolatey than Chocolat, A Year In The Merde tells you how to get served by the grumpiest Parisian waiter; how to make amour – not war; and how not to buy a house in the French countryside.
First things first. Merde in the title means “shit” in French. I happen to like the title a lot. *grin* I read this book last year, but somehow didn’t write a commentary on it then, so I decided to re-read it for this challenge.
Here’s a little info on the author and what this book’s about:
Stephen Clarke is a British journalist and writer working for a French press group in
This is the hilarious story of Paul West, an Englishman, who arrives in
The author’s writing style is breezy and very readable. I like his humour most of all. He pokes fun at the French and all things French – but not in a vindictive or mean way – and I could enjoy this because of his obvious affection for the French and France which comes through in his words.
I did find some aspects of this story to be blown out of proportion, where the author deliberately magnifies some events (dare I say, stretches the truth) to make them comical. For instance, the perennial dog-poop issue. If you were to believe Paul, you would think you couldn’t walk on the streets of
I’ve mostly enjoyed Paul’s story except for his sexcapades. He doesn’t seem very discerning as to who he beds, and his accounts in this area get tedious pretty quickly.
For the humour and writing-style alone, I’d rate this book 5 out of 5. However, the story does get a little boring in the middle, and I did find all the sexual encounters vexing (even though they are not graphically depicted).
4 out of 5. I like it. It’s compelling, a page-turner.
Since I like the author’s humour and writing-style, I want to read another book by him. Not another Paul West’s though (there are three more in this series). I think I will enjoy this one much more, and it's already in the TBR pile. *grin*