|2012-06-18||French Fried by Chris Dolley|
|Written by: Stephanie Dagg|
I have finally finished laughing my way through this book. I have had worried looks cast at me by fellow patients in the doctor’s waiting room, by other parents outside our kids’ judo class and by the rest of the family. This book is literally laugh-out-loud funny. It’s hugely entertaining, as well as being deeply worrying. There are almost two different books in one – the first is the entertaining narration of the Dolley’s eventful move to France with their menagerie and their efforts to settle in and do everything properly i.e. get as much of the proper paperwork as possible. And then the ghastly identity theft element enters the picture. The author turns detective in a very intricate and thorough examination of the case as he tries to unravel it. This is more serious, but this end of the book is lightened by the presence of visiting Nan, Shelagh’s mother, who is a sprightly eighty-year old with a dread of spending ‘dead days’ ie boring ones. There’s not much danger of that in the Dolley household I’d have thought. As an ex-pat I can sympathise deeply with the Dolleys’ trials and tribulations on moving to France. They came over before us, when cartes de séjour were still necessary and red tape was a brighter shade of scarlet. I can only admire the way they prepared before every meeting with officialdom by preparing a ‘script’. I’ve done similar things for phone conversations. And like them, I have experienced complete and utter despair when the other party unsportingly fails to follow the script but takes the conversation in an unanticipated direction. I have had my Great Elk moments. What are those? Aha. I’m not telling.