Finding Me in France is a thoughtful, funny, engaging memoir about a woman who did what all of us dream about sometimes — she walked away from her life, from a high-paying job for which she was very well-trained, and started all over again in another country. Newfoundland-born Bobbi French was an adolescent psychiatrist in Halifax when she convinced her husband (who didn’t take a lot of convincing) that they should leave it all behind and move to France. She abandoned her career, took advantage of the fact that she had an EU passport (because her father was UK-born), and went to a village in France, initially with the plan of working as a vacation property manager.
It’s a pretty huge upheaval for anyone, and Bobbi French does a great job of chronicling the down-to-earth reality of what exactly is involved in “living the dream,” which is not always so dreamy. Her struggles with the French language, the difficulties of finding a physiotherapist, a hairdresser, and intimate hygiene products in another country, and the perils of embarking on yet another home-renovation project, are all depicted with wry, self-deprecating humour. Even more telling, perhaps, are French’s insights into how it feels for a previously independent woman to be unemployed (albeit by her own choice) and dependent on her husband’s income — as well as on his command of the language!
French’s writing is lively and witty, and as an added bonus, the book is illustrated with beautiful colour photographs taken by the author and her husband in their new home. If the prose doesn’t make you want to run away to France, the pictures definitely will. And if you do run away to France, temporarily or permanently, you’ll definitely wish you could share a pain au chocolat with Bobbi French while you’re there, because she sounds like great company.