Trouble by Non Pratt (aka Fuck You Leben)

Deutsche Kritik weiter unten…

Trouble by Non Pratt

18138917When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.

How did I get the book? StorytellersInc Book Club

Genre: Contemporary

Previously reviewed: Remix

Review: Non Pratt has a stunning way of creating characters that you want to read. Both Hannah and Aaron are engaging narrators. Hannah is full of fire, almost shouting from the page, when you first meet her. If we’d been at school together I would have hidden from Hannah but at the same time also admired her. Aaron, on the other hand is calmer.

It’s amazing how quickly you become lost in their story. What I love so much about Trouble is how deeply I ended up caring about Hannah and Aaron.

Trouble is a book about family, friendship and love. It is full of emotions, some are tough but there is fun. This isn’t a doom story of teenage pregnancy. Hannah makes a decision that will change her life forever and she has to deal with the fallout but she has support, Aaron for one but also her grandmother, her family and her friends. It’s not just Hannah that gets rescued either, in her own unique way she’s there for Aaron. Their relationship is one of the best things about this book, along with Non Pratt’s writing.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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Fuck You Leben by N Pratt

23743011Hannah ist 15. Sie mag Jungen, sie mag Sex – und sie ist schwanger. Sie weiß zwar, von wem, aber das kann sie auf gar keinen Fall sagen. Aaron ist 16. Er ist neu auf Hannahs Schule, weil an seiner alten Schule etwas Schlimmes passiert ist. Und Aaron gibt sich die Schuld daran. Seit dem hat das Gefühl, etwas wiedergutmachen zu müssen.

Und so stellt er sich vor Hannah, als eine fiese Facebook-Seite mit dem Titel ›Wer ist der Vater?‹ online geht. Mehr noch, er gibt sich offiziell als Vater des Babys aus, mit aller damit verbundenen Verantwortung. Doch kann so eine ›rein platonische‹ Vaterschaft gut gehen?

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Warnung: Ich bin ein bißchen mit meiner Rechtschreibung aus der Übung.

Kritik: Non Pratt hat eine wunderbare weise Charakter zu erschaffen die mann lesen möchte. Sowohl Hannah und Aaron sind gewinnende Erzähler. Hannah ist voller Feuer, wenn man sie zum ersten Mal begegnet. Aaron ist ruhiger.

Fuck You Leben ist ein Buch über Familie, Freundschaft und Liebe. Es ist vollgepackt mit gefühlen. Dieses Buch ist keine warnungs Geschichte über Teen-Schwangerschaften. Hannah trifft eine Entscheidung, die ihr Leben für immer verändern wird, und sie hat mit den Folgen zu befassen, aber sie hat unterstützung. Aaron, ihre Großmutter, ihre Familie und auch ihre Freunde. Und es ist nicht nur Hannah die gerettet wird, sie auch ist für Aaron da. Hannah und Aaron’s freundschaft ist eines der besten sachen an diesem Buch.

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Let’s talk about the translation…

I’m going to start out by saying that I love the title. Fuck You Leben, translates back into English as: Fuck You Life and I think it works great for the story of Trouble and certainly for Hannah’s personality.

I have a few German editions of books and the first things I always notice is that the German book is longer, Trouble has 381 pages  and Fuck You Leben has 413 pages. Part of this is because in German we seem to have longer words, quick example “pregnant” vs “Schwangerschaft” but with Fuck You Leben the translator is also adding text and explanations (I’ll get to that in a moment).

There were a couple of interesting choices that were made about the translation that I found confusing. All of the examples I’m using are in the first 30 pages so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything.

    • Schokoladen Milch

      Schokoladen Milch

      The translator kept “mum”. You can have Mama, Mami, Mutter & Mutti. Granted I’m not a teen living in Germany now but I still think the fast majority of kids will use  “Mama, Mami, Mutter or Mutti” instead of the English ‘mum’ and it’s not like translating this would in take anything from the story.

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    • Chocolate Milk became “heißen Kakao” which is hot chocolate, I double-checked and there are multiple chocolate milk (Schokoladen Milch) brands in Germany. So Lola had hot chocolate poured over her cornflakes. I have no idea why that choice was made, google translate comes up with Schokoladen Milch as the answer as well so it’s not like this is obscure.

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    • Non’s subtleties kept getting explained and it sometimes makes the text sound a bit judgy. Ok so this is harder to explain without pulling whole sections apart but I’m going to use an example from very early on in the text, on page 18 of Trouble Hannah and her BF are getting ready and Hannah tells the reader “She arrives wearing her clothes for the park – that boob tube isn’t the wisest choice for someone with rack like hers, but there‘s no telling Katie.”
      In Fuck You Leben the same section is on page 20, “- die Korsage ist einge ganz schöne Ansage, vor allem, wenn man so Riesenbrüste with Katie hat, aber of dem Ohr ist sie taub.” The basic translation back is something like: “the corset is quite a statement, especially when you have huge breasts like Katie, but her ears are is deaf to that” It’s the same general meaning but I found the German version harsher. Does that make sense?

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    • Occasionally we get whole new sentences for no reason. Again I’m picking another example from early on.
      Trouble page 23
      “Yes. Home,” I say, not quite looking at him.
      “Yours or Mine?”
      vs.
      Fuck You Leben page 26
      “Nach Hause,” sage ich und schaue an ihm vorbei.
      Doch hast recht. Das ist es viel gemütlicher. Zu dir or zur mir?”
      It’s “You are right. It’s much cosier.” That’s two extra sentences that in my opinion have no reason for being there.

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Fuck You Leben get’s Hannah’s voice right, which I think is the important part. She was still Hannah. Aaron was a little more up and down for me but the overall story of Trouble is there. Translations are hard and I think that compared to some of the ones I’ve read in the past this one is pretty good.

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Dear Author

If you have a German translation copy of one of your books and you’d like to know how it rates against your original drop me an email on
lunaslittlelibrary (at) gmail (dot) com

I’m hoping to turn this into a regular thing if enough people are interested.

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6 thoughts on “Trouble by Non Pratt (aka Fuck You Leben)

      • Yes, Leuchten is one translation. Another would be “Strahlen” which can translate to shine or if you look at it as a noun, it would be beams/rays (as in sunbeams/sunrays).

  1. Continuing from twitter …

    It’s a recent development that German kids call their mother Mum/Mom instead of just Mama/Mami. Like many other words that have found their way into the German language from English, it’s nearly as normal as Mama.
    As for Mutter and Mutti, Mutti is pretty outdated. My grandma (who would’ve been 91 this year) was called Mutti 😛 And you don’t address your mother with Mutter, that is outdated as well, you only use it if you refer to your mother. But even for referring to your mother you often use Mama, especially when you know the person you’re speaking to well.

    I haven’t read the book, but from what you described the translation of chocolate milk to hot cocoa is a mistake. It would have been better to just say Kakao (cocoa), which is the German word mostly used for chocolate milk.

    And agreeing with you re the corsage scene as well, the translation sounds harsher, more judgy to me too.

    I’m wondering about the extra sentences you mentioned. Maybe the translator felt there needed to be more context?? But I don’t see it myself in the example you gave.

    All in all I think it’s a great idea comparing the original and a translated version of a book. I’ve read original and translation of other books in the past myself, but hadn’t thought about comparing them 🙂

    • Phew I’m glad you said recent, I knew that Mutti and Mutter was out of date (though I’m pretty sure 1 or 2 of my friends still used it) but when I was a teen it was ‘Mami/Mama’ – myself included, which is even weirder given that I’m bi-lingual and my mother was English. My teens were in the 90s/00s so it’s not that long ago.

      Learned something for next time, thank you.

      • One of my cousins uses Mutti as well, but it started as a joke a couple of years ago, when she wanted to tease her Mom and after a while it stayed. But even when she says it now, it has a joke-like ring to it 😀

        Always happy to add something regarding German/Germany 🙂

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