Back in print for the first time in decades—and featuring a new interview with the author, in celebration of her centennial birthday—the delectable escapades of Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland, who fell in love with a Frenchman—and then became a Parisian
In 1953, Olivia de Havilland—already an Academy Award-winning actress for her roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress—became the heroine of her own real-life love affair. She married a Frenchman, moved to Paris, and planted her standard on the Left Bank of the River Seine. It has been fluttering on both Left and Right Banks with considerable joy and gaiety from that moment on.
Still, her transition from Hollywood celebrity to parisienne was anything but easy. And in Every Frenchman Has One, her skirmishes with French customs, French maids, French salesladies, French holidays, French law, French doctors, and above all, the French language, are here set forth in a delightful and amusing memoir of her early years in the “City of Light.”
Paraphrasing Caesar, Ms. de Havilland says, “I came. I saw. I was conquered.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Olivia de Havilland
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are a Francophile and you love old movies, this book is for you. Olivia de Havilland's descriptive writing makes you feel like you're on the set of an old Hollywood film set in Paris, but her humor is timeless. Fun, witty, delightful.
Charming, funny, perhaps a bit over-written at times, but altogether a delight.
For a lawyer like me, two bits of French law resonated:
a. A divorce cannot be final until nine months after it is filed; obviously a logical way to be sure the baby will be legitimately the child of the first husband -- and so in the Napoleonic Code before genetic testing was available.
b. Twin boys -- the second born has the superior position on the theory of first out, last in -- again a logical approach to determining rights.
The postscript added delightful information. The first edition was published in 1962 and covered roughly the preceding decade. In May, 2016 she gave an interview with some more measured judgments:
-- She never went to Paris as a child, but learned a French song about having a rose in one's right hand; years later she found it among a gift book and taught it to her daughter.
-- Except for a few close friends, no one...
Every page held smiles, some held for me beaming grins, reading some pages resulted in echoes of boisterous, out-loud laughing. Not infrequently I was inwardly thrilled at Ms. de Havilland's brilliantly creative turn of phrase. In short, I found the book to be an utter delight. I know nothing about the art of acting, but the way Olivia de Havilland writes and thinks has me suspecting that imagination, creativity, and humor must play some part in that theatrical art form, as these elements have played a strong part in the writing of this book.
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