Worldwide Wednesday #1: France

Every Wednesday I am doing a post on a book from a different country, and calling it Worldwide Wednesday!

Feel free to join in and create your own posts on books that are related to a certain country (such as books set in a certain country, or books written by an author from that country etc.). If you do, don’t forget to tag me in so I can read all your posts!

Today my Worldwide Wednesday post is focusing on… France!

So I thought, what better book to choose than one that I have recently read in French! Ages ago I read the book, ‘No and Me’ by Delphine De Vigan, and then recently, I re-read the book- but this time the French version.

‘No et Moi’ is about a young girl, Lou, who feels isolated. She is very introverted, as she does not have a very happy home life since the death of her sister, and she is in a class full of older children due to her intelligence. She finds it hard to get on with other children, and the book focuses on her plight to present a school presentation on homeless people. As part of her research, she interviews a young homeless woman, No.

No and Lou soon become friends, and their awkward yet loving relationship is lovely to read about. It evolves through the book, with each girl having their own barriers and trust issues, but, despite this, a friendship gradually grows between the two women. Due to this friendship, Lou becomes more confident, and No gets another chance at happiness.

I really enjoyed this book, and I thought that Delphine De Vigan’s language was very beautiful and eloquent, with the descriptions used really conjuring an image of the struggles of homeless people in France, as well as the struggles of a young girl isolated within her family and society. I liked watching the friendship of the two girls grow, and I also liked watching Lou as she grew in confidence, gradually making friends and embracing who she is.

Although I could not understand the whole book, and I had to skip certain passages because my French isn’t very strong yet, overall I was surprised to find that I could understand the general plot of the book. I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book for a second time, and I found that it really helped with my French translation skills and vocabulary.

I also liked reading this book after I visited Paris, as I could recognise certain key landmarks and areas, and I felt that I had a greater cultural appreciation and understanding of the French setting and language after reading this book.

Have you ever read this book before? Do you think you might try a book set in France? What is your favourite book set in France?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Happy reading x

28 thoughts

  1. Hello ! I hope that one day your vocabulary in french will allow you to read Mme Bovary de Flaubert and his personal writing. The Memoires d’Hadrien de Yourcenar, Romain Gary … The choice is difficult and too vast. Zabou Breitman made a film No et Moi. If you speak literature, I would just like to evoke the film Mina Tannenbaum on a female friendship. Enjoy reading and it’s a good idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They sounds interesting, although I think I need to know my vocab well before attempting more difficult texts! Ooh, yes, I heard about that, I really need to watch it! Thank you, happy reading! 🙂


  2. Thanks for the French recommendation! I’m always on the look out for more decent French books and this sounds like one of them!

    One of my favourite French books is Aliocha by Henri Troyat, following a little boy who has fled Russia to Paris at the start of the 1917 Russian Revolution. It’s semi autobiographical and I love the themes of identity throughout the book. It is one I had to read at school for my French A-level and I’ve not read it since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, I’m a big fan of French! That’s great, I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

      Ooh, that sounds really interesting- that seems to mix my love of history and French all in one, so I’ll definitely check that one out! I’ve just read ‘L’étranger’, which is a typical book to study at French A-Level as it’s by Camus, but I did still enjoy studying it to some extent! The French language is just so beautiful! I’m definitely going to pick up a copy of Troyat’s book, thanks! 🙂


      1. I love French and History too, in fact that was my degree! I think I read a few extracts of L’étranger when I was at university and I did like it. I have a copy on my kindle so I should probably read it in its entirety at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No way!! I’m going to be starting a degree in that in September!! (Hopefully, if I get the grades!) I think with L’étranger I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, but I enjoyed studying it, I find that a lot with literature! It’s a really short book, so if you fancy it you could probably get through it quickly!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I originally started off just doing French but I changed at the end of first year to a combined honours. It did work out well for me actually as some of my French culture modules and topics overlapped with a couple of my history modules. It also meant I didn’t have to do a dissertation in my final year! I do sometimes wish I had dropped the French to just a minor subject but it has helped me to realise why I do love it.

        Saying that, I have been a little neglectful of my French since graduating so even reading a short book like L’étranger might take me a while. I really need to get back into reading and speaking it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That sounds great, yeah I can imagine the modules overlapping occasionally! Really haha, that’s good then 😉 Yeah, I am a bit scared of French haha because it’s so difficult, but I also love it so much, so I’m glad I’m carrying on with it as a large part of my degree, I just love both French and History so much 🙂

        Haha, I get that, you need to constantly practice French in order to keep it up to a good level, over the summer before Uni I’m going to have to keep listening and reading French otherwise I think I’ll forget it all! We should have some French conversations to keep up the French 😉


      5. It’s the only way to keep it going. I might go through some of the lessons on Duolingo and revisit some of my old school books as well as listening/reading French.

        Et je suis d’accord avec vous! C’est une très bonne idée! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Memrise je ne connais pas.

        Et en ce moment je pense que mon niveau de français n’est pas génial, ou peut-être ça dépend de mon français orale.


      7. Je l’ai téléchargé hier et oui, c’est bonne.

        Pour moi, le problème c’est mon confiance avec mes compétences orales. Quelque fois c’est bien mais les autres fois c’est difficile.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Je suis content que vous le trouvez bon!

        Ah, oui, je suis d’accord, si je connais beaucoup d’un sujet je peux parler bien, mais il est plus difficile si je ne connais pas le sujet! Quels livres étudiez-vous en apprenant à Université?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Exactement!

        En sujet de la littérature j’ai lu:
        – Hiroshima mon amour (j’ai oublié le nom de l’ecrivain)
        – Dora Bruder (Patrick Modiano)
        – Les Fleurs du Mal (Charles Baudelaire)
        et quelques autres mais je les ai oubliés.

        Ausis, je suivis votre Twitter donc je pense que c’est plus facile de continuer cette conversation, ou tous les autres, par là.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a nice idea to do Worldwide Wednesdays! I really like it. My favourite French book is Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I think that is quite a popular one. I read this book for the first time when I was seven and I’ve read it numerous times since then. I love that you get something else from it everytime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my library service has started this scheme over the summer where you attempt to read three books associated with different countries, so that’s where the idea came from! Ooh, I’ve heard a lot about that one, I really want to give it a go, so thanks for the recommendation! 🙂 I think that was an option to study at A-level, although we didn’t study that one in our class! If you fancy doing a post on a country next Wednesday, feel free to! 🙂


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