Welcome to the What I Like About Me Blog Tour!
To celebrate the US release of What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume on April 1st, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive original content from Jenna, as well as 10 chances to win a finished copy of What I Like About Me and WILAM pocket mirror, as well as one grand prize giveaway of a book, mirror, beach towel, and sunglasses!
What I Like About Me: Australian vs American Slang
by Jenna Guillaume
When I wrote What I Like About Me, I deliberately set out to make it very Australian. I grew up reading and watching a lot of American stories (including, of course, Dirty Dancing, which influenced What I Like About Me). And while I love American pop culture, and America and Australia do share some cultural similarities, I wanted my debut novel to tell a story that, although it borrowed from great American rom-com tropes, felt unique to my home country.
I was thrilled when What I Like About Me was picked up to be published in the US, but wasn’t surprised that some things needed to be changed in order for it to make sense to American audiences. While I hope it still maintains its distinctly Australian flavour, there were words here and there which were changed on the advice of my publisher. Here’s a peek at some of what changed in the journey from Australia to America …
In Australia, holidays refer not just to cultural events like Christmas and New Year’s, but also to any time off or trips. We say things like “I’m going on holidays to Hawaii” or “I need a holiday”. So a lot of “holidays” in What I Like About Me had to get changed to “vacation”.
Minties are an iconic Australian lolly (sorry, candy) that’s hard but chewy, and, as the name suggests, mint-flavoured. In the original manuscript, Maisie, my main character, mentions eating them on the very first page. However, my editor pointed out that they sounded too close to a brand of American dog treats, so unfortunately they had to go.
Maisie and her family go on holidays (aka vacation) every year to the same caravan park by a beach. Caravan parks are found all around Australia in places people holiday—you can rent a caravan or pay for a spot to park your own. People also live in them. In theAmerican edition of What I Like About Me, the word caravan became “RV”, but not much else about the concept changed!
This was one of the more surprising changes for me. When you line up for something (say, to buy movie tickets), you “join the queue” or simply “queue”. This was changed to “get in line” in the Americanisation.
Maisie and some of her new friends have an ongoing debate about whether tomato sauce is kept in the cupboard or fridge—the kind of argument Australians get VERY passionate about. While the discussion is still in the book, they’re now arguing about ketchup.
Alcopops is the slang term for super sweet and cheap pre-mixed alcoholic drinks that younger people tend to binge. My editor suggested changing this term to “wine coolers”, which hopefully captures the same vibe.
Ah, Macca’s. The very affectionate term for McDonald’s in Australia that’s even adopted in official signage. Unfortunately, Americans don’t use this nickname, so it had to be changed to Micky D’s (which, I maintain, makes no sense as a nickname).
In Australia, you fill your car with petrol at the petrol station, aka the service station, which is called servo for short (because yes, we shorten everything). This became gas station, and petrol became gas, in the Americanisation of What I Like About Me.
And then some
There were lots of other words that were tweaked from Australian to American English.
Here are some of my faves:
Bin = trash can
Eskies = ice chests
Pub = bar
Boot = trunk
Barbie = grill
You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.
The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.
As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.
Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.
“This is the book I would hand to teen me.”
—Becky Albertalli, #1 New York
Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
“Funny and heartfelt. I loved it.”
—Melina Marchetta, author of On the Jellicoe Road
“Debut author Guillaume’s novel features funny dialogue and fresh takes on body image and personal relationships as well as a plucky heroine who slowly but surely comes into her own …. Perfect for fans of Dumplin’, a hilariously sweet yet complex romance.”
Jenna Guillaume was the editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and, most importantly, Chris Hemsworth’s biceps. Previously, she worked in the features department of Girlfriend magazine in Australia, writing about everything from bullying and body image to bad kisses and boy bands. She also contributed to Girlfriend Life Hacks, an essential guide to navigating a girl’s completely-awkward-but-totally-awesome teen years. Guillaume lives in Australia. Visit her website at jennaguillaume.com.
🌟 March 31st – Sprinkles of Dreams 🌟
April 1st – The Fandom
April 2nd – Fangirlish
April 3rd – Word Spelunking
April 6th – Julie Caught Reading
April 7th – A Dream Within a Dream
April 8th – Mundie Moms
April 9th – Good Choice Reading
April 10th – Crossroad Reviews
- 10 winners will receive a finished copy of What I Like About Me and WILAM pocket mirror 🌟
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11:59pm ET on 4/18
- One winner will receive a finished copy of What I Like About Me, WILAM pocket mirror, beach towel, and sunglasses 🏖
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11:59pm ET on 4/18