Mister Monday

Abe Gross argross at bigpond.net.au
Fri Sep 12 10:40:23 EDT 2003


With all the multiple posts going on, I strangely enough didn't see any
responses to my post, but in the course of confirming that he'd received
multiples, Charlie let me know that Kylie had replied.

Kylie wrote:

<< I am half way through it.

I am reading the American Scholastic edition.  I didn't notice the things
that you pointed out Ros, but I thought the school had a reasonably
Australian flavour.  I think he wears a uniform, and they don't tend to do
that in US schools. >>

Actually, you're right about the uniforms, and that this *is* an Australian
thing. Thanks for pointing that out.

That makes it really confusing as well as annoying (as you point out
below)--he's wearing a uniform like an Aussie kid (and unlike an American
kid), but he's in "the seventh grade"?? It was probably the latter
expression that caught my eye the most and that screamed "American" to me.
For people who might not know, we don't call high school levels "grades"
(and we don't have junior high, so high school starts straight after primary
school). They're called year levels, so that the main character would be in
year seven (usually capitalised as Year Seven). I can't think that any
Australian would use the expression "seventh grade" and it would stick out
as an Americanism to most Aussies.

Something else that felt wrong for an Aussie school was the existence in the
book of a fullly-fledged school kitchen, something almost unknown here for a
public school AFAIK.

<< I was trying to work out where it was set, and I was sure enough that it
was
in Australia that it really jarred when he called his mother "Mom".  I have
since checked the Allen & Unwin edition, and it is "Mum" in there. >>

Well, I haven't got to that bit yet, but that annoys me even more! "Mom"
feels so quintessentially American to me. But as I said, I haven't seen that
yet, unless I somehow managed to miss it. I can't recall his actually
addressing his mother up to this point, though. Would you know what page
this is, or at what point in the story, Kylie?

<< That was enough to really irritate me.  I would have thought that the
average child in the USA was smart enough to work out what the hell "Mum"
means in context even if they have never heard the word.  Fair enough
changing words like "jumper" which mean different things in the different
countries, but not Mum/Mom.  That sort of thing just makes the book a
completely confusing mish-mash of cultures that is going to either confuse
or irritate!  It is so unnecessary!! >>

That's exactly my thought. It has also, as I said before, a "dumbing down"
feel to me, in the same way as calling the first HP book _HP and the
Sorcerers' Stone_ is, as if American kids couldn't work out what "year
seven" or "Mum" is, or wouldn't be able to handle a different culture.

Kylie
(irritated)

Likewise. And I didn't even know about "Mom" yet.

Ros


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