Monday, January 31, 2011

Found in Translation -review

Found in Translation by Roger Bruner

Found in Translation is a Young Adults (misnomer, I feel like they should call "Young Adults" the "Old Juveniles" or "Preteen/Teen." Young Adult is college students, not high school students) novel about a spoiled southern girl who goes on a mission trip to Mexico. There she is encountered with a situation she was not prepared for, and it changes her life.

I thought it a good book. Since the main character, Kim, was slightly spoiled and strong-willed, it made for an interesting first-person narrative. At times I had to remind myself that Kim's thoughts were most probably not the author's thoughts, because she annoyed me at times. It worked out well though, because by the end of the story I had experienced Kim's maturation with her. I was able to watch her thoughts change as the mission trip made her a better person.

Since the description of the book said Kim was 18, I was expecting something a bit more grown-up, for lack of a better word. Instead I got a girl fresh out of high school. I was instead expecting a college-age girl, so it was a bit jolting to deal with high school thoughts instead of college thoughts. As a Young Adult (Old Juvenile) book it worked well. I imagine Young Adults (Old Juveniles) would like this book and the way Kim acted like a teen. I did not find the tone of the narrative at all cliche or condescending like some Young Adult books tend to be. It actually felt like an 18-year-old telling her story.

I did think the inclusion of a black girl, Aleesha, in the story was a bit weird at moments only for the fact that her race was continually pointed out. Perhaps it is a cultural thing, but race has never been a big deal where I live, so it was jarring to read a story where the fact that a girl was black seemed to be a central point of the story. It was nothing racist (I got the distinct impression that neither Roger Bruner nor Kim were racists. Kim was just sheltered). Just something weird.

Personally, even though the story was well-written and had a good premise to go on, I did not feel emotionally invested in the story. I thought it taught great lessons about surrendering our will to God, but it didn't really touch me personally.

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