Drafts, Slippers and Mother in Law
(Chasing a Croatian girl )
Cody McClain Brown
Translation to Croatian: Vladimir Cvetković Sever
186 str., oft cover
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The book is a result of blogger texts about the cultural differences between The United States and Croatia that follow the author (evolution from stranger to son in law) together with judgements, stereotypes, traditions and beliefs.
Meeting his future wife, a Croatian who he met in a town in Oklahoma, the author because of love decides to move to Croatia, first to Split and then to Zagreb. Arriving in new surroundings, so different to the one in America, the author goes through a cultural shock. He doesn’t understand the traditions, doesn’t know the culture and mentality of the people he meets. He fights against the judgments and stereotypes and compared the Croatian and American lifestyle. Although he will never understand why Croatians are so afraid of the fresh air they call draft, why drinking coffee takes hours and what is its social role, the importance of the relationship with your neighbors, why you aren’t allowed to walk bear feet, who’s the mother in law and what is her role and other life circumstances, a Croatian son In law will still get drunk wishing his daughter the American dream.
Why is the story appropriate for the targeted groups of RSP readers?
What are the distinguished readers interests reflected by this book/story?
The readers and see and analyze the Croatian society and put themselves in the prospective of a foreigner. With the ability to compare the two different cultures they can distinguish their values and disadvantages, but also learn and accept what is different to what the know.
Why is this story motivational for the pupils?
The readers can identify with the author, narrator and main character. Considering that young people today, in the time of globalization are always in contact with people from different surrounding, cultures and orientations. From everyday examples they are able to recognize and acknowledge the importance of understanding others. Also, the students can perceive their society and everything else from a foreigner’s point of view. The simple writing style and humor make for a readable and fun book.
Is there a historical, political, multi/inter cultural, migrant or similar context recognized in this book/story?
In the book, we can recognize the intercultural context - with a personal example from the author, he explains that conventions do not function the same way towards the two societies. Stereotypes can be an obstacle in communication, and cause intercultural misunderstandings which bring positive and negative emotions, (humor, surprise, discomforts etc.). In the same way the author does not understand Croatian traditions (ex. Invite to lunch and paying the bill or having good neighbor relationships, which he considers being nosy and intrusion of privacy), which raises the previously mentioned emotions – firstly disbelieve and discomfort, then surprise and relief and ultimately pleasure.
Is there a principle of inclusion reflected in this book/story and does it promotes understanding of cultural diversities and heritage?
Yes, and American is trying to fit in the Croatian society and is doing a pretty good job at it, but he had preconditions, the preconditions were to meet, understand and accept the cultural differences and heritage. The book brings awareness to the reader that stereotypes and judgment do exist about Croatians too, just as Croatians do the same for other nations.