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March 02 , 2011

The Secret Life of France


Lucy Wadham"s first work of non-fiction is a candid and funny account of her long and tumultuous love affair with France, her adoptive land. At the age of eighteen Wadham ran away from English boys - who she found emotionally immature and sexually unconfident - and into the arms of a Frenchman. She soon discovered that romantic relationships in France were fraught with their own set of problems: not only do the French put women on a pedestal, but both sexes are required to act out the sort of seduction games that disappeared from English society centuries ago. Wadham, who dressed in Doc Martens and baggy jumpers, struggled to fit in . . . Twenty-five years later, having married in a French Catholic church, put her children through the French education system and divorced in a French court of law, Wadham examines the profound and varied differences between the Anglo-Saxon and French worldviews. Using her own experience, as a wife and mother, and later as an investigative journalist for the BBC, Wadham explores French attitudes towards sex, marriage, adultery, money, work, happiness, war and race, and in so doing reveals much about our own priorities and the nature of our identity. The Secret Life of France challenges our preconceptions and debunks many of the myths - bleak and rosy - on which our view of France rests. Might we have something to learn from this most infuriating and contrary neighbour?
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