Review: French Lessons
Three Americans in Paris, for three very different reasons, each hire a private French tutor on the same day. The relationship between the three tutors is complicated, but they each give their student their undivided attention for the day. The students are:
- Josie – a high school French teacher mourning the death of her lover
- Riley – an ex-pat housewife and mother, living in Paris, trying to figure out a way to make her adopted country feel like home
- Jeremy – the husband of a famous movie star who is in town while his wife shoots a movie
The three spend their days differently but end it the same way, each a little wiser.
I was really excited to listen to French Lessons, by Ellen Sussman (after all it takes place in Paris) but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I liked it well enough, I just didn’t love it the way I hoped to.
Each student’s story is told separately and it seemed they ended at about the time I started to get attached to the characters. Told in the third person present tense, I felt a little removed from the story for some reason, so I never really connected with any of them, like I hoped to. The tutors each had their own story which were interesting, too, but they were secondary to the students’ stories.
I think my biggest problem with French Lessons was that I really wasn’t sure what the purpose of the story was as I finished the book. That might just be me, though. I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book at all, but that’s not the case. I did enjoy it, I just didn’t love it like I thought I would. The Paris setting is wonderful and the book is a quick read, so it’s one to pick up if you need a foreign escape. I listened to the audio version which is read by Kathe Mazure, and she does an outstanding job. Her French accent is impeccable!