Entre Nous is a book I came across when searching for a brand new, full of fresh possibilities 2014 diary. It didn’t take long before the Ines de la Fressange diary caught my eye – I adored the classic and simple design of this little wine planner, including the very random hair-tie in contrasting neon pink that comes wrapped around the body of this little book. After I added it to my virtual shopping basket (as you do), I noticed Entre Nous amongst the usual suggested titles that have previously never held my interest; French Women Don’t Get Fat, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, Forever Chic…etc., etc. While the diary caught my eye, I’ve never felt compelled to read Ines de la Frassange’s guide to Parisian style personally. I can understand the appeal of the French diet and style books to many, but I think that everyone develop their own personal style by influence, visual inspiration and characteristics of their personality..I don’t think a book will make a difference. What I am interested in however, are many elements of French culture – work ethic, friendships, and especially the relationship they possess concerning food.
What drew me to Entre Nous was firstly the fact that I’ve never seen it before, so it was a fresh French title…and there was no mention of diets or style. After reading a couple of reviews I decided to order it for myself. The author, Debra Ollivier is an American woman who has been living in France for over 10 years. The book is a comparison of American and French culture but not in the way you might think. This isn’t a woman who’s depreciating her own heritage in favour of another, which I’ve seen before in snippets and magazine articles concerning the analysis of French culture.
Now I will admit, I was a little embarrassed at the idea of reading this in the beginning, but Ollivier’s book is incredibly well written and a very interesting read. The book is divided into various sections, and the little boxes that appear on most pages are a mix of quotes by famous Frenchies, must-see movies, book recommendations or a short profile on an influential (usually incredibly strong-willed and passionate) French woman.
The sections of this book include food, friendships, love, home, family, work, style, holidays and dinner parties/entertaining. A review I came across described Entre Nous as ‘frothy non-fiction’ which I think is a pretty accurate description. It’s a very light read – I flew through it over a day or two and really enjoyed it…but beware – the book can be a little saccharine at times, but never enough to overwhelm. It’s a good choice if you need cheering up and it will put you in a good mood instantly. Not only did I love how Ollivier writes but I actually liked a lot about the book physically – the colours and illustrations are beautiful, and the texture of the cover felt good in the hand and I don’t care who knows it!
I would highly recommend Entre Nous for yourself, for your sister, for your friend, as a gift.. You really will discover interesting facets of French culture that you never knew before, even if you think you know it all! You could also brush up on your French and try some of the colloquial phrases that feature. I read this early last November but plan on re-reading it again soon – it’s just one of those books, je suppose.
You can buy Entre Nous here, for less than €10 with free shipping.
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