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Home » Books » Health & Wellbeing » Self Help » Personal Growth » Happiness

Bonjour, Happiness!

Secrets to Finding Your Joie De Vivre

By Jamie Cat Callan

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Format: Paperback, 228 pages
Published In: United States, 26 May 2011
As a middle-aged woman living in youth-obsessed America, Jamie Cat Callan went to France to find answers for aging gracefully and to find joy in her imperfect body. Her mission was not to find the Fountain of Youth, but to find the Fountain of Happiness. From the point-of-view of an innocent abroad - searching for inspiration from the French and particularly French women - Bonjour, Happiness! is Callan's journey through France as she struggles with weight, body image, accepting middle age, coping with a new marriage at 50 and rediscovering her French heritage.

About the Author

JAMIE CAT CALLAN has lived in France, and has interviewed numerous French women. She has published books on the subjects of relationships and writing, and has been featured in the "Modern Love" column in the New York Times, as well as Best American Erotica, The Missouri Review, and Story and American Letters & Commentary. She currently teaches writing at Wesleyan University Graduate Liberal Studies Program, and lives with her husband in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


As a young girl whiling away the summers with her French grandmother in Toulouse, Callan (Bonjour, Happiness!) spent many a late afternoon admiring a print of Guy Dessapt's Le Moulin Rouge. In this combination lifestyle guide and travelogue, Callan interviews French women and Francophile expats from Paris to Lille to Normandy on topics like beauty, fashion, and feminine hygiene in an effort to divine the wellspring of a French woman's je ne sais quoi, or her "ooh la la," as Callan puts it. A "charisma expert" weighs in on displaying confidence, a masseuse explains the French approach to fitness (they "don't like to get sweaty in groups"), and Callan's friend Sylvia describes her government-funded, postpartum vaginal rejuvenation therapy. The author also muses on her favorite iconic fashions and their histories and the French reverence for "femmes d'un certain age," one of whom-Madame Poupie Cadolle, the "Queen of Lingerie"-cuts a particularly striking figure. This charming foray into French femininity will make a perfect cadeau for any Francophile lady. Agent: Irene Goodman, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

EAN: 9780806534107
ISBN: 0806534109
Publisher: Citadel Press
Dimensions: 21.01 x 14.15 x 1.83 centimetres (0.27 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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Elizabeth on
As an avid Francophone I usually snap up any book that promises to shed some light on the lives of those mythically stylish French women. I know its probably all stereotypical drivel but lap it up anyway. In my opinion Helena Frith-Powell's 'Everything you need to be impossibly French' is probably the best title in the genre; with Debra Ollivier's 'Entre Nous' coming in second. 'Bonjour Happiness' is a good read and a very pleasant way to while away a Sunday afternoon. You're just not going to find anything new on its pages. If you like this type of book and have read the two superior books mentioned above, then by all means buy 'Bonjour Happiness'. The only real disappointment is the curious concentration on the benefits of Weight Watchers - you almost get the feeling that the author is getting a commission!

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