Toss The Rules in the trash-bin, put on your sexy lingerie, and welcome this new French mindset. This novel is an ultimate woman's guide to getting what she wants. Author Debra Ollivier, a born-again French woman, knows enough about her own country and her husband's homeland to be instantly relatable to gals on both sides of the pond.
“The French are professional sensualists; they understand that the universe will not implode without their constant attention. They still generally rebuff the American culture of multitasking. They don't dine with Bluetooths strapped on their ears. They aren't quick to hand out business cards unless they're really doing business. They know about essential things. That's why we love them. That's why everything seems sexier in France.” -pg 200-201
What makes this personal narrative and how-to book so appealing is that it tells us to do almost everything opposite of what we were taught. It's almost as naughty as eating a chocolate croissant for breakfast and getting a date with the waiter. The contents include sections appropriately labeled: Men, Mystery, Rules, Perfection, Nature, Art De Vivre, and Body.
While I wouldn't jump straight into an illicit affair, I would recommend Ollivier's words on relationship, “Ah, what a relief. In France you just 'go out with' someone. You might go to a caf? and talk about French bulldogs or you might end up in a seventeenth-century farmhouse and make passionate love on a bale of hay while your lover recites Malarme. There is no right or wrong way to 'date.'” This refreshing advice is something more American ladies should take to heart, instead of analyzing every word in a text message in an attempt to figure out the status of their relationship.
What French Women Know is Ollivier's homage to everything French. She is American by birth, but follows her lover back to France, gets married, becomes a French citizen, makes friends, and starts a family there. While you may not agree with all of Ollivier's insight, acceptance of cheating spouses and dirty houses come to mind, you will be intrigued at her observations and her story.
The only drawback of Ollivier's book is the contemporary nature. Her pop culture references make for a fun read, but will easily date it. What she does right is use first-hand narratives and political and historical figures to back up her research. What French Women Know is well-drafted and thought-provoking. This is one to put on a list for all your best girlfriends.