|Image from here|
I started with the book. I gave it a a chance. I read for about twenty minutes and managed to decide that it was not a book that I would be able to teach. There are way too many topics that are covered for me to be able to do them all justice.
Since I knew I wouldn't be teaching the book, I moved on to the movie. I figured that it might be easier for my students to understand and would better hold their attention. I did enjoy the fact that the movie was in French because I think it's so pretty to listen to, but I know that it's really hard to get my students interested in a movie that has subtitles. Since I figured I wouldn't be using the movie for class either, I decided to watch it and see what I thought of it. I did find it interesting, but there were parts of it that I found really hard to follow, particularly trying to keep some of the characters straight because the movie was mostly in black and white so the characters had little distinction from one another. I also thought there were parts of the movie that were way too strange. The grandma was really blunt and opinionated, but there were several times when she talked about putting jasmine blossoms in her bra so that she would smell good. Definitely something you wouldn't expect a grandma to be saying to her granddaughter. The parts of the plot that dealt with the revolution and regime changes were glossed over in some parts and in others given such extreme detail that it was hard to follow.
Overall, I like the concept of the book and movie much more than the actual book and movie. I would not watch the movie again and I would not recommend it.