In my recent review of The Officer’s Lover I mentioned that in America The Officer’s Lover has the title Almost Home. I also briefly said that I believed the American name was better. I certainly think it reflects the story better. Whilst The Officer’s Lover does have a slight baring on the story I feel it doesn’t reflect the main content of the story at all. However I an see Almost Home working. The main character, Jordan, had been floating since the death of her boyfriend. Making few connections, moving frequently, but never returning to England where she dated, and lost, him. I can see that her search for closure could make her ready to settle and get ‘home’.
So why was the novel name changed? Well I can see a little that it may have been changed to fit with other books by Pam Jenoff. It fits with the pattern of Kommandant’s Girl, The Ambassador’s Daughter, and The Diplomat’s Wife.
That’s what it often comes down to, marketing. It’s similar to changing book covers to film covers. Generally speaking I don’t like film covers- and them often being cheaper suggests to me that many people feel the same. However I can understand why the covers are changed- to make a link for people who have seen, or want to see, the film.
Another notable time that a book title has been changed is the changing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in America. Apparently because American’s won’t understand the word philosopher. If I was American I think I would be offended at the assertion that I wouldn’t be able to understand a word- or even have the sense to look up a word I didn’t understand in the dictionary. I’ve heard of a few books being ‘dumbed down’ in this way for America.
There are times when it works of course, when a word is something which is not used internationally. I did think that Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging had been changed to take out snogging in America, but apparently not. Some of the others have been changed however (USA list, UK list) I had heard it was due to the UK titles being too racy, although someone in America will have to tell me if they actually appear to be racy!
Generally speaking I think authors chose to title books by a certain name for a reason. And whilst other titles may work well on a marketing point of view I think really the author’s title should be stuck with. What do you all think?