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'Every Frenchman Has One' by Olivia De Havilland: EW review

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Every Frenchman Has One

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Olivia de Havilland
publisher:
Crown Archetype
genre:
Memoir

We gave it an A-

Fifty-four years ago, before every starlet with a Twitter account could score a book deal, Gone With the Wind actress Olivia de Havilland published Every Frenchman Has One, a delightfully witty collection of essays about living in Paris after marrying a French citizen. The slim volume, long out of print, was just reissued for de Havilland’s 100th birthday. Self-deprecating, conversational, and brimming with agile wordplay (on painfully tight French dresses: “I tell you, there have been times during these forays when it has been my mind that cleaved and my bust that boggled”), she muses on everything from French medicine’s unparalleled focus on the liver (that organ, actually, is what “every Frenchman has”) to the frighteningly articulate insults Parisians lob at people who almost crash into their cars. (If you really do crash, they’re perfectly nice.) Her tone might be playful, but her talent was, and is, serious. A–

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