William Alexander is not just a Francophile, he wants to be French. It's not enough to explore the country, to enjoy the food and revel in the ambience, he wants to feel French from the inside.
Among the things that stand in his way is the fact that he can't actually speak the language. Setting out to conquer the language he loves (but which, amusingly, does not seem to love him back), Alexander devotes himself to learning French, going beyond grammar lessons and memory techniques to delve into the history of the language, the science of linguistics, and the art of translation.
Along the way, during his travels in France or following his passion at home, he discovers that not learning a language may be its own reward.
'He throws himself into learning to speak French with Gérard Depardieu-like gusto ... the appeal of "Flirting With French"... is in the author's amiable dunderheadedness as he delves into the culture, with all its confounding contradictions.'
New York Times Book Review
'His quixotic resolve to transcend his inherent competence recalls the participatory journalism of George Plimpton, the lanky patrician whose unlikely stints in football and boxing lent nobility to failure. Like Plimpton, Mr. Alexander presents himself as an apprentice, but the reader quickly discovers he is also a master teacher.'
Wall Street Journal
'Flirting with French is hilarious and touching, all the way to the surprise ending. In this "travelogue" about learning French, William Alexander proves that learning a new language is an adventure of its own -- with all the unexpected obstacles, surprising breakthroughs and moments of sublime pleasure traveling brings.'
Julie Barlow, co-author of Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong
'I could so relate to William Alexander's insecurities-and ecstasies-while pursuing his major crush: France and her seductive language. Reading Flirting with French motivates me to continue courting the language, no matter how often I'm stood up mid-sentence!'
Kristin Espinasse founder of French-Word-A-Day.com
'Funny, informative, well-written, Flirting with French is a delightful and courageous tale and a romping good read. Voila!'
Mark Greenside, author of I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do)