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Mum’s the word

March 19, 2021

I should have thought it through. I should have paid the extra for the postage and ordered my copy of Caitlin Moran’s More Than A Woman from the UK. But I didn’t. I ordered it here and ended up with the US edition, which is annoying the hell out of me.

Why?

Well, for one thing, the front cover blurb, taken from Marie Claire, reads: “The UK’s answer to Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and Lena Dunham all rolled into one.” What?!? If anything, they are the US’s answer to her. Except they’re nothing of the sort. Moran is totally unique and should be bowed down to as that. Fuck you, Harper Collins promo department. (NPR did better on the back cover with: “A feminist writer who scrimmages with the patriarchy and dropkicks zingers with comic flair…. A must read for anyone curious to find out just how very funny a self-proclaimed ‘strident feminist’ can be.”)

So, yes, I was annoyed before I even opened the book.

Many, many years ago, when I was first in New York, I remember sitting on a bench in Central Park doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. I had some letters from other answers for one of the words: an F, a V and an R. It was obvious the answer was FLAVOUR, but there weren’t enough spaces. What the hell? Then I remembered: Oh, right, Yanks don’t like the letter U and eschewed its use in many words. The answer was indeed flavour, but misspelt as flavor.

So, there’s that. I can usually get past it in US editions of books by UK authors, even though I know what the author actually wrote was favour, colour, odour, etc. It is annoying and does make me wish that booksellers in Canada (where we spell things properly) should be obliged to sell the UK edition of UK books. But I deal with it.

In this instance, the editors at Harper Collins have committed a glaring, flagrant, egregious fucking sin.

A large portion of the book is devoted to Moran’s daughters, both as young children, then as teenagers. No child in Britain (unless they’ve recently arrived from the US with their parents) ever refers to their mother as “Mom”. And yet there it is on the page, over and over and over again, that very wrong word where the word MUM should be. What the actual fuck, Harper Collins? This is as close to a proper name as you can get. I’m not going to suddenly decide Dunham’s first name should be Leena with two e’s. YOU DO NOT GET TO FUCK WITH THE WORD MUM. You should be tarred and feathered, Harper Collins. Any American reader smart enough to know about Caitlin Moran is worldly enough to recognise the word Mum. Fuck you.

Other than that, how was the play, Mrs Lincoln?

Okay, now that the rant is out of the way, I’d like to thank Caitlin Moran from the bottom of my heart for once again making me laugh out loud (on at least one occasion making me actually snort) during what has been a pretty dismal week.

I LOVE this woman. She is the mum every girl should have. (And luckily for me, I pretty much did.) She also swears a lot and drinks and smokes, so how could I not love her?  

Thank you, Caitlin, for being you.

From → Reading

2 Comments
  1. janeshead permalink

    Ooof, thanks for the heads-up. Will order from the UK.

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