Dreaming in French

A Novel

Dreaming in French

CHARLOTTE SANDERS, a precocious American girl growing up in Paris in the late 1970s, leads a charmed life. But her idyllic childhood is turned upside down when her mother, Astrid, has an affair and the family is shattered. Leaving her sister in Paris, Charlotte follows Astrid to New York. There, in the shadow of her glamorous and erratic mother, Charlotte has to negotiate her path to womanhood, eventually living through her own unhappy love affair and returning to a Europe that has been reshaped by the downfall of Communism.

At once a coming-of-age story and meditation on cultural identity, Dreaming in French is an enchanting portrayal of the challenges of adolescence and an honest account of one girl’s discovery that where we come from makes us who we are.
  • Scribner | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416599739 | 
  • December 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Dreaming in French includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


1. Why did Frank and Astrid move to Paris? Is the city a natural fit for them? Do they consider France their “home”?

2. In a novel filled with expatriates, what does nationality mean to each of them? Do the main characters consider themselves French, American, both, or neither?

3. Why does a teenaged Charlotte cling so closely to her mother? Are they too close for Charlotte’s own good? In one way or another, was she always afraid of losing Astrid?

4. Why do Charlotte and Lea call their parents by their first names?

5. “I didn’t trust perfection. That was why I fell in love with boys like Patrice and not Serge” (page 75). Why doesn’t Charlotte trust perfection? Are her choices in men consistent throughout the novel?

6. Which characters truly care about the political struggles happening in other countries? Is Charlotte aware of the world around her? Is Lea? Maybelle? Grace?

7. Maybelle tells Charlotte, “You and me, we’re worker bees.” (p. 84) How do they see more

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About the Author

Megan McAndrew
Photo Credit:

Megan McAndrew

Megan McAndrew is herself the daughter of expatriates. She grew up in France, Spain and Belgium before attending college in the United States. She worked in Warsaw, Poland, as a representative for the Financial Services Volunteer Corps. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her teenage son.