Again, it's my turn to share with you my Fabulous Author/Book Pick. This month, my FAb Pick (notice the big "A", because my pick is the Author, not the Book, yes?) is someone that is pretty familiar to most of you that hang out here. She was introduced to me last year over on Faster Than Kudzu, and I instantly fell in love with her. Oh geez, don't get squicky. I mean I fell in love with the way she writes. She's funny, she's smart, and she's written an entertaining book called Blame It on Paris. Yes, yes, yes, I'm talking about the FAB-ulous Laura Florand, or "Laura of the Truffles" as she's come to be known by many. If you want the full story on the truffles, I'm going to be pointing you towards some links (most of these go to blogs, so be sure to check out the comments or you'll be missing stuff) all week long. If you're not one of the people that actually clicks the links to get the full story, I'm going to tell you right now that you'll be missing out. Trust me, you'll enjoy the story on murder-for-truffles , and you'll especially appreciate all of Laura's hard work in the kitchen, because SHE'S MADE TRUFFLES FOR YOU!! Well, not for ALL of you, you understand? But for ONE of you. The truffles will go to the winner of today's contest. But don't worry, you've got all week to enter. And this contest is a little bit different, because you actually have to work for it. More on the contest later though, ok? Because really, all I wanna do is talk about the book.
When asked to describe her book in one sentence, you may remember that Laura said:
A perfectly friendly and NORMAL person from a small town in Georgia ends up in Paris where people jump back in fear when she smiles at them; she falls for a Parisian despite this and must deal with his COMPLETELY INSANE culture AND FAMILY, only to discover, when she drags him back to her world, that some aspects of it and of her own enormous family are just a little nutty when seen from his perspective, too; how will true love survive?
You may also remember that I said "And that perfectly describes the book". I wasn't kidding, but I have to tell you that if her description were the actual BCC, we'd have some problems. Because she didn't mention how funny her book is. And she didn't tell you that there would be parts where your breath got stuck in your throat when she describes one of those "Ah ha!" moments that sometimes happens in your life. And she didn't explain that she'd included everything from chocolate to grits to snails to explain the differences and similarities of the French and Southerners. And she forgot to include that the book is something like "Four Weddings and a Funeral", but hyped up on French cooking and Southern family. Thankfully, she didn't write her own BCC, or if she did, those-in-charge weren't so ridiculous as to restrict her to just one sentence.
I have to tell you that I really, really HEART this book, big red cut out hearts with white letters gloppy glued to the front, and a picture of a little flower taped right in the center. And it has NOTHING to do with the fact that Laura sent me the book because I won a contest over on her blog, and when it arrived a lone little truffle had escaped from the box and exploded all over the book, leaving me with chocolate flakes on my fingers. I promise, there are no pictures left of me actually licking the cover of this book, ok? But the chocolate? Yeah, NOTHING to do with what was inside the covers of the book. Because frankly, and you know this is true, no matter how much you chocolate-coat something, if at the center is something really yucky (like a snail or a grasshopper, or something REALLY yucky!) then all you've got is chocolate covered yuck. So, chocolate and joking aside, I want you to know that this book really is FAB-ulous.
I'm going to share a few of my favorite parts with you, and maybe that will explain what I mean. So just sit back and enjoy!
Maybe, when it comes to relationships, you've just got to risk it all with blind faith, even when it seems crazy and impossible and like you have too much to lose, including your familiar life. Everything, after all, is crazy and impossible, especially romance, which makes no logical sense whatsoever and seems to require an extraordinary belief in something intangible. It's just a thought. I have them occasionally.
Yeah, I know, right? That's what I mean. The book meanders along, like a nice stroll along the Seine, than BAM! You get hit upside the head with something that seems so basic, something that you've always felt but never actually tried to express. And you have to stop and put the book down, and walk away to fill your coffee cup, let the idea roll around in your head for a bit, then jump back in to find out what else Laura figured out for you. The book is fun that way. Here's another one, just to illustrate:
I realized that this sense of home was why I had been willing to make all those ...trips... I wondered how many things Sebastien didn't fully realize and couldn't articulate, how many unnamed layers of richness and belonging like this church were behind some of his needs for France.
That one stopped me cold. No, I am not married to a hunky Frenchman. I'm married to a hunky man from Ohio, thankyouverymuch. But for this girl, raised by a very Southern momma, with some very strong Southern women in my immediate five generations of family, Ohio might as well be the moon. We grew up miles apart, nearly speaking different languages, almost needing an interpreter. but it wasn't until reading this passage that I finally understood that his boyhood home meant as much to him as my Great-grandma's house meant to me. I get it, I really do.
Not that I agreed to four weedings, you understand. Frankly, I think Laura went above and beyond to accomodate all of those relatives, having TWO weddings in the States, then TWO weddings in France. And she desribes every one of the four in her book. In one scene, she having a literal meltdown while getting ready for her French wedding. Sebastien's mother, Claudine, tries to calm her:
Laura: It will never work. Our cultures are too different... it's an impossible thing to make work.
Claudine: It will work. We ate grits, didn't we? It will work fine.
Claudine: It will work. We ate grits, didn't we? It will work fine.
At that point, I really wanted to steal Claudine! But I'm thinking Laura and Sebastien would notice that she disappeared. My kids might also wonder about a French lady tied up in a chair, being poked with the broom handle demanding she say really nice things to me. That's ok though, I can read all about her whenever I feel like I need somebody to remind me to take things one day at a time.
I'm not going to tell you anymore about the book today. I have an interview with Laura that will be posted this week. And we've got another thing on Friday. But for now, you can enter to win TRUFFLES. It's easy, really. I owe this idea to Amy, so thank Amy for suggesting it. Laura heard the idea and said "Yes, we MUST do that. That would make me feel so much better!" I wish I could find where Amy suggested it, but I'm too tired to dig that far. All you have to do is TELL US YOUR VERY OWN WEDDING HYSTERIA STORY. Yep, that's it. Tell us the story of your own meltdown. You can leave a comment on THIS post, or you can write about it on your own blog and leave us a link. Either way, you'll be entered to win. For those of you that haven't taken the plunge yet, you can share a story from a wedding that you've attended, friend or family, or ex-boyfriend, or crazy neighbor, or whoever. The story just has to contain a WEDDING and HYSTERIA. We're giving you guys a whole week to enter. All entries or links must be posted by Friday at 11:59pmEST. The winner not only gets a signed copy of Blame It on Paris, they will also get a box of truffles from Laura's very own kitchen. Bon Chance!
Also, get to a book store and pick up Blame It on Paris. Well, you can wait til the end of the week to see if you win a copy. But if you don't win, then go buy this book. It's hysterical. It's poignant. It's profound. And if you're very, very lucky, it's still covered in chocolate! (Ok, you'd have to actually have MY copy to have one covered in chocolate, and I'm not giving mine up. But all the other things I said about it are true. Really they are!)
Keep turning those pages!