|Yösyöttö / Eve Hietamies / Hanna Männikkökahti|
STORY: Six days after Antti's wife Pia gives birth, she flees in a taxi, leaving Antti helpless and clueless to take care of their baby. Having no choice but to leave his job and take care of his son full-time, Antti's life changes completely as he learns about childcare and life.
This book is a selko-translation of the popular fiction book of the same name by Eve Hietamies, published in 2010. It is the first in a trilogy and can be read as a standalone. Yösyöttö has been turned into a movie, directed by Marja Pyykkö and starring Petteri Summanen.
LANGUAGE: This contemporary book set in Helsinki is told in first person from Antti's perspective. While a thick book at 148 pages, the chapter length is quite short with each chapter around 3-6 pages and full page illustrations throughout. Much of the book is dialogue, both conversation and Antti's inner thoughts. Themes include father-son relationships, family, joys and hardships in child raising with humor running throughout.
The joy of a selkokirja is that it doesn't have the same appearance and structure of a standard novel. In this case, the full-page black and white illustrations by Ina Majaniemi bring an extra element to the story, enhancing the story to the reader and providing insight into's Antti's world and Finnish daily life. Small details such as socks on a radiator and well-recognizable plaid slippers alongside Antti's expressions and the growth of his son will delight readers and have them flipping ahead to find out when the next illustration will come in the story.
As far as language levels, I rate this a solid B1+. Although it is over 100 pages, the chapter length, vocabulary and grammar make it very accessible to any B level reader.
CHARACTERS: Antti is 40 years old and successful in his job as a journalist. He is used to a busy work life, travelling around Finland and the globe doing interviews and office work. When he learns that his wife, Pia, is pregnant, he expects that she will stay home and raise the baby while he continues working. While he is knowledgeable in his work, he is clueless when it comes to child raising and everything that comes with it. The adjustment to being a stay-at-home dad is huge and Antti takes help from wherever he can find it. At the beginning of the book, Pia is a mysterious character, simply running off. It is only as the book progresses that the reader learns more about her story and role in the family. The side characters in the book are well developed, many providing a jolt of reality and others bringing humor and hope.
A character list is provided in the front, with names and short descriptions of the main characters and the heavily featured side characters.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: A new trend in Finnish selkokirjat is the selko-translations of many contemporary popular fiction books. This book is just one of many, and is especially timely, considering the release of the movie based on the second book, Tarhapäivä, in November 2019. Because it is popular fiction, it is not uncommon to see native Finns reading the original series on the bus or in the city, and now selko readers can join in alongside them and keep up to date with current Finnish literature and popular culture and provide an element of integration to all. This is a fun book to read, and because it is B accessible, it doesn't require constant dictionary searching. The story will appeal to readers of all types - women, men, parents, and readers of popular fiction in general. 5/5 stars.
Bonus: The author provides vocabulary cards and reading comprehension questions on her website, Random Finnish Lesson and information about her other books here, including a sample of Yösyöttö.