Friday, January 11, 2013
French Illusions by Linda Kovic-Skow
When Linda Kovic-Skow was turned down for a job as a flight attendant on an international airline due to not speaking another language, she came up with a plan. She would move to France by advertising her services as an au pair, and learn French by immersion. She put the plan into action and quickly found a job. There was one catch; the family wanted an au pair already fluent in French.
Desperate to get to France, Linda let the family believe she met their criteria. Thus, her first experience meeting the family was a confession that she had come to France under false pretenses. The family was not happy, but agreed to let her stay. It was a wealthy family, living in a large castle-like home. There was a young girl and a boy, and the mother delivered a baby girl shortly after Linda started with them.
Things did not go as well as she had hoped. While Linda was willing to do whatever was needed, the mother in the family quickly stepped over the line. She started assigning Linda tasks that were not in the au pair job description, and often had her working at household tasks for up to twelve hours a day. While she got along well with the son, the daughter was haughty and refused to follow Linda's directions.
Things were not all bleak. Linda went several times a week to a nearby town where she started college classes as another way to learn French. She met some fellow students, and then Adam, who was a gorgeous man who also seemed interested in her. These weekly classes quickly became her escape from drudgery.
Things went from bad to worse with the mother starting to make demands on Linda's limited free time and making comments about her sexual nature. When things got to the absolute limit, Linda knew she had to make a change. Could she change her relationship with her family or would she have to find another way to extend her journey abroad?
Kovic-Skow has written an entertaining memoir of her time in France. It is full of her adventurous nature and the pitfalls that a young person alone in a foreign country can encounter. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy travel writing and those who like memoirs.