Sunday, March 01, 2015
The French House by Don Wallace
The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All, Don Wallace. Naperville ILL.: Sourcebooks, Incorporated, 2014. e-book, 328 pps.
Don Wallace and his wife Mindy fell in love with Belle Ile, a small island in the Brittany province of France. They found a house for sale and bought it. The French House details their financial and cultural struggles to restore their home as well as their love affair with the island. Although they were summer residents [and not true ex-pats], I enjoyed this read.
I have my own dreams about finding a tiny island someplace to go live where the people are friendly but not pushy and there is clean water to swim in, a warm climate, maybe a few mountains and woods, and lots of birds. I enjoy traveling. Although I cannot afford to go to the more glamorous places yet, I meander around in the woods or on trains every chance I get. Consequently, I am a fan of Paul Theroux and I also read ex-pat books whenever I can get my hands on them.
There are pictures in The French House of the house itself, some old walls and scenery, and people. They were decent pictures which added to the enjoyment of the book for me. I like old walls and ocean shots in particular.
I also liked that Mindy spoke good enough French and that Don was picking up French [with some humorous mistakes] as fast as possible. I think it is important to adapt to our environments-- which includes foreign countries-- rather than expect that the world will adapt to us. Should I ever re-locate, it is my intention to become fluent in the language and culture of the place I pick. I do not want to live in a planned community of ex-pats who speak primarily English and go to the franchise stores that are available in the states.
It is unfortunate that people of all walks of life consider that they are entitled to government-given happiness or are somehow owed a living. Don and Mindy Wallace have more money than some folks do. Even so, they went after what they wanted and were willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get it. Some may criticize this last paragraph as a straw man sort of argument but I am leaving it in here anyways. Those are my own thoughts.
sapphoq reviews says: I liked The French House. Highly recommended.
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