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Studying French

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Title: Messieurs Les Enfants
Author: Daniel Pennac
Year: 1997

I have read novels in French before, but it was a long time ago and when I actually studied French in school. Therefore, what I say about the book in question should be taken with a heap of salt, because my bad French might be the reason for various misapprehensions. In short, I enjoyed this book and I sensed that there was more than my language ability enabled me to understand. I found Messieurs Les Enfants by Daniel Pennac a funny and entertaining novel.

The first few chapters were really difficult. I had to look up several words per sentence and even then I did not always understand. However, I soon recovered, and after a while, reading went fairly smoothly, even without a dictionary at hand.  The story that emerges is about three twelve-year-old boys who are given an assignment to write what would happen if suddenly one morning they found themelves transformed into adults and vice versa; their parents turned into kids. They are frightened and awed when this actually happens the next day. What has happened? Who is to blame? Is there a way out?

This book is hilarious. Even though I am sure I missed most of the jokes, I still laughed many times. The dialogue is witty and fast-paced, which tallies neatly with the narration in general (which I had trouble understanding at times). Messieurs Les Enfants has not only succeeded in entertaining me, it has also sparked an interest in the French language in general. I own another novel by Pennac and even though I probably will not read it while in Taiwan, I am positive I will read it once the onslaught of learning Chinese has receded.

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