Monsieur Mediocre: One American Learns the High Art of Being Everyday French

We rated this book:


With a little less mockery and a bit more in-depth description, this memoir would receive louder applause. Columnist John von Southen is a transplanted American who followed his French wife to Paris and remained there to raise a family. In this comedic memoir, he records his impressions of his Parisian existence and his interrelationships with the French company he encounters. In slapstick manner, he describes the unique living quarters his family devised in a culturally mixed Parisian quarter, dryly assesses the status of aristocrats, and delves into the evolution of the French language. His descriptions of the undergraduate school system provided for the youth is complimentary; however, brief observations of the immigrant situation in Paris are neutrally superficial. He has no praise for French wine and finds the Australians to be serious competitors in this line. As for the long French vacations, with their required holiday trips, these are lampooned as just annoying interludes, on the other hand, he has a definite attraction for the offbeat Parisian sexual practices. While bragging about his expatriate status, he frequently satirizes the characters in his adopted country for the amusement of his anticipated audience. This book will appeal to those who appreciate burlesque humor; for my part, a bit less flippancy and coy juvenile whining would translate into a more than mediocre histoire.

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Author John von Sothen
Star Count 3/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Viking
Publish Date 2019-05-07
ISBN 9780735224834
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Travel


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