aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

I'm misleading the Germans

Kind of, anyway.

In America, everyone has heard of tough-love bootcamps.

But to judge by this letter I received from a German bookreviewer (Shock Point just appeared over there), they have not.

Here is my not-very-good (I lived there for seven months more than 20 years ago) translation:

"Dear April Henry:
I've just read your YA "Breakout" (Shock Point) and am very impressed and very shaken. Most shaken over the condtions and educational methods in the educational camp Peaceful Cove. Are such camps actually a reality in the USA? And how many youths (as an estimated percentage) go thorugh such camps? And is it actually so easy to be sent there even if you are innocent? The depiction of Peaceful Cove (although physically far worse) reminded me of Billy Wilders "They were only children" [Full description: can't find any information about this movie - do you guy's know it? In German she called it Und sie waren nur Kinder] that I saw a long time ago, in which the parents leave their children in a vacation camp while they are on vacation, with substantial psychological problems for the children."

I hadn't even thought about how one story based in one culture might not translate into another culture. But from her letter, I'm doubting that idea of bootcamps even exists in Germany. I would imagine only a tiny, tiny percentage of American kids end up in any of these camps, let alone the notorious ones overseas. While I was able to reassure her that not many kids end up in these kind of schools or bootcamps, the ones who do may not necessarily be even all that troubled. In many cases that I looked at, in fact, the primary problem seems to be that the parents have divorced, remarried, and are frustrated by their teen acting out. We give parents a lot of freedom to do enroll their kid in any kind of school, including ones out of the country.

Here's the New York Times article that started my story, as well as a fascinating article in the The Guardian.

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