Thursday, January 7, 2010
French women don't put a foot wrong
... or so it seems.
I received Mireille Guiliano's Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire for Christmas. I did actually ask for it, and my sister sweetly obliged (I bought a copy for her, so we sat there opening the same gift at the same time!). Having read Guiliano's previous two books, I have to confess I opened this one with a slight sense of dread.
In fairness, Ms Guiliano is writing about things that people do want to read about. She stresses on a couple of occasions that she has been asked to write this book by readers of her previous boks. She comes across as a gracious and kind person, who is aware of how fortunate she has been in life, and is keen to "give back" by mentoring friends and employees.
What I struggle with is the pervading sense of smugness in all three books. Perhaps it's a bit unfair, but I came away from reading each book thinking, "Well, that's all well and good but I didn't grow up in the South of France, eating fresh fruit straight off the trees. I don't get to fly business class when I travel for work -- so the odds of me arriving anywhere looking uncreased and untroubled are minimal -- and I am not blessed to spend half the year sipping champagne in Paris and the other half sipping champagne in New York!" I'm not a moderate, disciplined, understated kinda gal, who dresses perfectly for each occasion and juggles shopping, cooking and work with the greatest of ease. I'm not always politically savvy at work, and don't send Thankyou cards as often as I should.
Yes, it's fair to say that Mireille Guiliano inspires a fair bit of envy in me, which triggers some pretty unattractive shame and general ungratefulness for what is actually a life blessed with tremendous abundance.
But, that aside, I did wonder why a book on balancing work and life only mentioned juggling family commitments in passing. Children were not even an item in the index. I'm beginning to thing that I am not the target audience for this book... and that maybe that's a good thing.