Wild French Wisdom

Myrna Blyth reviews “French women don’t get fat” and “Perfect Madness”:

Maybe this book should have been called “French Girls Don’t Dare Get Fat,” which is probably a bit closer to the truth. Madame Guilano, who is the CEO of Veuve Clicquot and peddles this very pricey champagne in America, tells us only what anybody, French or American, who doesn’t have much problem with his weight, already knows: That it is better to eat what you want but not eat too much, to eat only when you are hungry, and to walk more. Not exactly le revelation!

But hey, I can stomach 200 pages of self-congratulatory chauvinism and yogurt recipes a lot more than Judith Warner’s snappish assault on American moms in Perfect Madness, a book that rated a cover story in Newsweek and a front-page review in The New York Times Book Review. Warner, by the way, just happens to be the co-author of Howard Dean’s screed Take Back Our Country and Return Democracy to America. This author, when she first had children, lived in France. She insists French mothers have it good and get it right because France is simply a “paradise.” It’s a contrast to “most of America,” which she found upon returning home to Washington, D.C. is “competitive,” “rapacious,” “amoral,” “moralizing and just plain mad. ” Merci, Judith.

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