Book Review: A Lady In France

lady in franceReading the autobiography of Jennie Goutet’s adventurous life, A Lady In France, gives one the impression that this young lady has led many lives in such a short period of time. Depression, near-death accidents, world travel, addiction, grief over the loss of loved one’s are openly shared by Jennie as if she were relating these events personally to me over a cup of coffee (or tea). 😉

I appreciated Jennie’s honesty when she relates struggles about her weight gain and appearance. She comes across as a very assured young woman, although she readily admits to battling feelings of gloom and darkness to the point that anti-depressants were her only option. Through it all, the shining light in the story is not Jennie herself, but God. Her faith in the Lord is strengthened through each struggle and battle she encounters.

At times, I was hoping for less wordy sentences because I couldn’t imagine that Jennie would actually use some of the words or phrases in real-life that she uses in the book. I enjoyed the book when it held true to the conversation-style, but there were times when it felt like someone went through, found ‘boring’ words and edited it to make it sound more ‘intellectual’.

I enjoyed the first half of the book- which described her travels- much more than the second half of the book. Some themes that I did not enjoy reading were about the countless moves she made with her husband and the home renovations she had planned. It was tedious to read through many pages devoted to her wedding planning, from colors of dresses to the decor of the reception hall and the types of foods she ate on her wedding day. I was also hoping to read about how the time she spent in Africa with the poverty-stricken orphans may have caused her life to take a turn in a different direction, but it seems as if once she left Africa, she was thankful that that chapter of her life among the poor was finished and now she could live among the elite of the world once again.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, but the never-ending personal details seemed to bog down what could have been a riveting autobiography. At 328 pages, I think the book would have been much better if it were condensed by at least 100 pages. I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

The publisher of this book has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookCrash.

 

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About Brenda Weatherly

Christian wife and mother to 7 children. Board of Directors at Center of Light, Team Leader of Woodlawn Refugee Ministry.
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3 Responses to Book Review: A Lady In France

  1. Hi Brenda, Thank you so much for your honest review. Your critique was very just. If I had been accepted by a publishing house (I didn’t try very hard to find one because memoirs are a hard sell) I am quite sure that they would have made me cut the book by a LOT. But it was my first attempt at writing and I was afraid of the rejection, so I put it out there as is.

    I agree with you that it had too many details, especially towards the end. I think … (you don’t mind, do you? my “chatting” with you this way to explain my thought process? I would never do this on Amazon, but since we’re both bloggers, I’m just treating it like a regular place to comment).

    Anyway, I think that I didn’t know how to pull it off without including all the events. You see, I didn’t even think I had anything to write about until I had a miscarriage. The experiences were all so different that I couldn’t find any continuity. But when I began to grieve the miscarriage, I realised that the common thread was God, and the faith that brought me through the big things and the small.

    Two minor things I wanted to mention: I do kinda talk that way in real life (dorky, I know – groan). I grew up reading all the classics and that vocabulary sounds normal to me. So those words came from my heart and were not swapped to sound smarter. But I can see how that can be sort of alienating.

    Also, I was ready to leave Africa – it’s true. And I’m sure you’re right that part of it was a lack of heart for the mission. But I cried for months every time I spoke about it, and I still cry when I think about (write about) Moguay – thirteen years later. I think I was just sort of shell shocked. It was all so much, between that, 9/11, later on the unemployment and desire to have kids …

    I think I could have very easily stayed if my husband and I had been asked to go into the full-time ministry and I knew we could start our family there. But we weren’t invited to do that – it was just supposed to be a one year humanitarian effort. And I was 33 and really wanted to have a baby. However, just a few months ago, one of the doctors that oversaw our program was in Paris and he came to church. I expressed to him my desire to go back and DO something. So we’ll see where that leads.

    This was a very long comment. eek. Clearly I have a problem with too many words wherever I go. Hugs in Christ, and thank you heartily for reading and reviewing.

    • Hi Jennie,
      First off, I want to say that it is always difficult for me when I write a review that isn’t glowing in nature. I, too, have had to hear negative reviews about my blog or about my ebook and as much as I’d like to shrug off the comments as a person’s opinion, there is still a little sting of rejection. Please know that I admire you as a person and am inspired by your faith and your courage to write with such openness about the deepest parts of your life. You have more guts than me on that one!

      About the comment relating to your time in Africa, it may hit a little closer to home for me than most readers because I have very good friends who operate orphanages in Ghana and Uganda. My 16-year-old daughter has spent time in Ghana (and Haiti) and I know that she was deeply affected by the faces of the children, the lack of food, the joy the people found in the most simplest things in life. I also personally know at least 30 children who have been adopted from African countries and while not everyone is called to adopt or even do missions work in Africa (me, included), I am thankful that these children’s parents went above and beyond the norm to make a difference. If the Lord leads you to go back to Africa, I know that the Lord will use you in a mighty way.

      Take care, Jennie, and thank-you for taking the time to personally reply to my review in a Christlike manner.
      Your sister in Christ,
      Brenda

  2. I’m glad I came back to read your comment, Brenda. ((hugs)) 🙂

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