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Crystena77

Nothing better than a good book...

If it's good, I'll read it! Instagram:  @crystenasbooks

Ramblings about understanding different cultures...

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

I'm still enjoying this one... with one exception. It's only a half page in the novel but it bugs me...

 

There's a point in the story when the main character returns to the US after spending some months in a boarding school in Paris, and she begins to get annoyed with "Americans"- making comments about how they should comb their hair, be more fashionable, why are they so loud. There's no correction made, as if she were expanding her horizons and is now enlightened to how "backwards" Americans are, almost as if it's a good thing...

 

Um...

 

I think I would have preferred her appreciating both cultures rather than going to Paris and then adopting stereotypes.

 

Where am I coming from? Eight years ago I started learning Mandarin. I would never say I'm fluent, but I can hold my own in a conversation.  Though it was difficult, and made me want throw things a lot of the time, it's one of the best things I've undertaken. When you learn a language, it takes you about .02 seconds to realize that you need to learn and understand the culture in order to communicate. I was fortunate enough to be able to have an opportunity to experience the culture to help with the learning curve.  For example, one of the things I learned is if you word for word translate a lot their phrases and idioms you will wind up with statements that make no sense. I've seen jokes made about it and I shake my head.  But I can't get upset without being a hypocrite - when I started, I would compare cultures, as if one was better than the other rather than just acknowledging they're different.

 

I say all this acknowledging that maybe in the end the main character in this book will have changed her mind. I hope so, this is a wildly popular YA novel - I would hope it'd encourage a better attitude- you can appreciate another culture without turning on your own.

 

But otherwise the story line is cute and every time I pick up the book it's an enjoyable read.