American author Mark Greenside believes that, as a guest in another country, he should be “the foil.” That explains why his latest book, (not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living is filled with humorous episodes of his life in a village in the Brittany region of France!

I attended his talk at a local independent bookstore, where he read a few excerpts. He pointed out that while the name of the village and the names of his friends have been changed in the book, all seven stories were based on his own experiences.

In “Driving (Me Nuts),” he recounted the time he tried to get out of Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris. I’ve been to CDG so I could relate to his frustration trying to navigate one of the world’s busiest and largest airports!

Then he regaled the bookstore attendees with the story about his challenge to find the right medication from a pharmacist in “A Hypochondriac’s Delight.” Fortunately, I didn’t need to go to a pharmacy when I was in France, but I found this story both funny and informative!

After his talk, he answered questions from the audience. He also signed copies of his book. I purchased the book and he signed it:He said I looked familiar. That was nice of him to say, but I didn’t recall having met before, so the first thing to come to mind was, “Oh, I’m a Francophile, too” to which he replied, “That must be it then!”

That kindly humor is what you’ll find throughout (not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living. I recommend this book to anyone looking to read a funny living-abroad memoir!

For more information:

  • Author Mark Greenside’s website (link)
  • Books, Inc. (link)