Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle

Toujours Provence
Hey, all! Today I'm officially breaking out a new template for my review posts. I talked about wanting to do this as one of my 2015 goals. This is likely going to be a work in progress for a bit as I figure out what works best for me. In the mean time, I'd love your feedback! 

Title: Toujours Provence
Author: Peter Mayle
Publication Date: 6/2/92
Pages: 241
Genre: Memoir
How I Found It: I read Mayle's first book, A Year in Provence
Date Completed: January 1, 2015

Summary: After writing a best-selling memoir about his life in the Provence region of France, British native Peter Mayle offers a follow-up. He explores more of the idiosyncrasies of the French people and their way of life.

What I Thought: I really enjoyed Mayle's first book. It encapsulated my lifelong dream of moving to France. It described the idyllic lifestyle I imagined, alongside some humorous realism. 

Following my typical pattern, I read that first book almost exactly one year ago. Seriously, I don't do this on purpose. It's like my inner reading cycle just happens to last twelve months before I crave a follow-up. 

Mayle opens his book with some tongue-in-cheek descriptions of readers showing up unprompted at his French home. Some wondered straight into his kitchen! Some sought out villagers who appeared in the pages of the first tome to match the real specimens with their characterizations. After that amusing opening, Mayle returns to the same format that he employed in his first, so successful book.

He simply describes life in the same French town; he shares stories of people and experiences and meals (though decidedly fewer of those than in the first book). Though the ingredients are all still there, I felt this sequel lost some of its predecessor's magic. I still enjoyed reading it, but I did feel the same love and longing to go to France as I did with the first one. Maybe I felt more of the age in this one (it's over twenty years old!) and maybe Mayle just was not able to have lightening strike twice. Whatever the cause, I was underwhelmed and a bit disappointed.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
If You Liked This Try: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking The Sweet Life in Paris / Lunch in Paris
Other Books By Peter Mayle: A Year in Provence

A Reduced Review: While still a fun escape into the French countryside of the early 90s, Toujours Provence fails to capture the same magic as its predecessor.

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