I'll Never Be French (no Matter What I Do)

I'll Never Be French (no Matter What I Do)

Living in A Small Village in Brittany

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
The author recounts how he was dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny region in western France, where in spite of the failure of their relationship and his complete inexperience with French culture, he fell in love with the area and made it a second home.

Book News
Greenside, a writer and teacher, tells the story of his experience in a small village Brittany, France, after his then girlfriend convinced him spend a summer there. Although he doesn't speak French, he stayed there and ended up loving the village, which became his second home. Here, he recounts the culture, food, and people, as well as his daily life, cultural differences, and anecdotes, as he learns to love this unfamiliar life and culture. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

& Taylor

Traces how the author, a downwardly mobile and liberal American, was dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny region in western France, where in spite of the failure of their relationship and his complete inexperience with the French language and culture, he fell in love with the area and made it a second home. 40,000 first printing.
Author and teacher Mark Greenside recounts his struggles to fit into the life of a small Celtic village in Brittany.

Simon and Schuster
Tired of Provence in books, cuisine, and tablecloths? Exhausted from your armchair travels to Paris? Despairing of ever finding a place that speaks to you beyond reason? You are ripe for a journey to Brittany, where author Mark Greenside reluctantly travels, eats of the crêpes, and finds a second life.

When Mark Greenside -- a native New Yorker living in California, doubting (not-as-trusting-as Thomas, downwardly mobile, political lefty, writer, and lifelong skeptic -- is dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finistère, "the end of the world," his life begins to change.

In a playful, headlong style, and with enormous affection for the Bretons, Greenside tells how he makes a life for himself in a country where he doesn't speak the language or know how things are done. Against his personal inclinations and better judgments, he places his trust in the villagers he encounters -- neighbors, workers, acquaintances -- and is consistently won over and surprised as he manages and survives day-to-day trials: from opening a bank account and buying a house to removing a beehive from the chimney -- in other words, learning the cultural ropes, living with neighbors, and making new friends.

I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do) is a beginning and a homecoming for Greenside, as his father's family emigrated from France. It is a memoir about fitting in, not standing out; being part of something larger, not being separate from it; following, not leading. It explores the joys and adventures of living a double life.

Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2008
ISBN: 9781416586876
Characteristics: 244 p. ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 12, 2017

I've read this book twice and enjoyed it just as much both times! It helps that I, also, love anything French. I found it to be enjoyable and light-hearted while also thought-provoking, in its examination of the differences between American and French cultures and lives. The honesty and self-deprecation of the main character is a refreshing change and only serves to make the storyline more convincing.

Jul 08, 2017

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as I greatly enjoyed Peter Mayles stories of living in France. Sad to say, I was greatly disappointed. The story itself was fairly well written but the main character comes off as a juvenile schmuck. How the author succeeds in life is a mystery to me, if this book is any indication of how he lives. Without the help of his girlfriend, mother, and especially his neighbor, I don't know how he would survive at all.

Like I said earlier, this story would be much more interesting if the main character was in his 20s rather than his 50s.

Go read Peter Mayles books instead, they are wonderful.

Jun 09, 2017

An amusing tale told well. I think there's a little fiction in as well, since in one incident he contradicted himself. Still it was a fast fun read.

jagger66 Mar 20, 2017

Amusing , sets a good pace , worth a read

Aug 11, 2013

Charming little book about one man's adventure in changing his life. Despite Greenside's tongue-in-cheek observations, it's very clear he is enamored with France and his new neighbours and friends. While he may never be French, he has a deep respect and admiration for all things French - perhaps to the detriment of true observation. I'm a little suspicious of this unending generosity, common sense and joie de vivre: like everything, yes, all in good dose and never in all circumstances!
Nonetheless a fun, light read which will bring nostalgia to anyone who has enjoyed France.

Jul 06, 2012

very funny loved it #imagineteencontest

Jun 06, 2011

Funny, funny, funny!!! Trials and tribulations of a hapless American among the perplexing Bretons (not the French!). A laugh out loud read that sheds light on another culture. I wished it had gone on and on...

Mar 13, 2011

This book is pure pleasure to read; soon after I began reading it I already started to dread finishing it. It is hilarious!


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at MenloPark

To Top