A Town Like Alice: Don’t Repeat Everything That You Read

A Town Like Alice

In my attempts to get to know my new home country, I read A Town Like Alice, which turns out to be written by an Australian but not really that much about Australia until the last third of the book.

It reminded me of something you might read in junior high, kind of an Aussie To Kill a Mockingbird (still such a great read) or Summer of My German Solider (which I have to classify as ‘chick lit’).  It paints a picture of the bush country in the 1950s after World War II, and the growth of what was transitioning between previously First Australian lands (the PC term for aboriginals) to men-only ranch and cattle lands to actual civilization.  It’s a quick read, with clear characters, and while a lot of the telling is done from a first person perspective narrating the story of the main characters.

One of the main characters in the book uses a pet name for the female lead in the book that I thought was cute sounding and light.  After Lisa had finished the book, I began to use this “pet name” for her.  I soon found out that the “pet name” is incredibly offensive, racist, and derogatory: according to one Aussie friend the term is “worse than the N-word in the U.S.”   Wikipedia confirmed that I could not have chosen a worse term.  So, I’m going to be more cautious about what words I pick up from Aussie literature from the 1950s in the future.

I am also trying to say “zed” instead of “zee” for the last letter of the alphabet.  That one is not ea-zed at all.

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