Sarah Turnbull is an Aussie girl travelling Europe and paying her way by freelancing as a journalist. While in Romania she meets a lovely spunky French man - Frederic -who asks her to come to Paris for a visit...needless to say she does and the two of them decide to shack up... it's really a semi-autobiographical story of what happens when you move countries (instead of neighbourhoods - I though moving to Hawthorn from Prahran was tough enough!)and two very different cultures come together within a relationship.
And these two couldn't be more opposite...The Australian girl is dressed like a hippie lesbian, and she is loud (but easy going), and gives Ollie Reed a run for his money when it comes to drinking - while the Frenchman is dressed like a parisienne model, appears cold & aloof; and is the Voltaire of french dinner party etiquette...but even with these (possibly stereotyped - yet real?) characters, the book does explore life of the other side of the looking glass...and unlike Alice, Sarah gets to live their permanently as opposed to catching the next flight home.
There is a lot of humour in this novel- but it's not a laugh out loud book...more-so it's Sarah observations of Paris life and culture - it infuriates her and mesmerizes her at the same time which make this book a good read - from the long queues at the boulangerie...to the grey drab sand beach of Northern France (which people actually swim in - Sarah grew up in Sydney's northern beaches so you can only imagine her reaction!)...to surviving polite dinner conversation at these very grown up dinner parties with 5 delicious courses of butter, cheese and more fat( no one has second helpings - hence why the french are so damn thin and eat everything they want to!) I really enjoyed it...and , of course, it reminded me of what a truely life changing experience to a visit to Paris can be - let alone if you live there.
3 and a half Metro stations out of five.