I didn't realise until years after I got the book that they're in character, both doing the "poofter test"; with Matt bending his fingers to look at his nails (Olivia stretching them) and crossing his legs at the knees (Olivia putting her right lower leg on her left leg's knee).
British readers (judging the book by its cover only) after having seen the series, wouldn't get this reference.
Click on the picture for a better look.
Photo by me.
The book is also titled C/o The Bartons, although in some databases "(Plus)" is added to the title. (Plus), however, merely is the publisher's series of books where this title is a part of. The other books in the (Plus) series are not C/o The Bartons related.
The book was released in Australia (1988) and the UK (30 March 1989).
Moorhouse merged several screenplays from the series into a largely coherent story line. One of the differences between the book and the series, is that the story lines are more clearly connected to each other. The show did this, but the book does it better.
Cast group photo, taken during the shoot of The Great Billycart Aid Race and used on the back cover of the book.
LTR: Olivia Harkin, Frankie J. Holden, Matt Day, Ben Toovey, Jennifer Jarman-Walker, Michael O'Reilly
The episodes that are missing, all involve the Snollers. That makes the Snollers the only main characters exclusive to the television series.
What's most striking about the book, is that the readers get a look inside the characters thoughts; to read what they're thinking in most situations. That adds another layer of depth to some important scenes. When I first read the book, I'd seen every episode lots of times. But watching them again after reading the same story in the book, including the characters thoughts, shone a new light on some of them and on the characters' motivations.
For instance, the scene in Bartons at the Beach where Elly gets burried up to her neck in sand by Lee, and Lee then taking "advantage" of the situation by trying to kiss her, was already uneasy to watch in the episode itself. But after reading that Elly was terrified of what Lee could do while she's defenceless, mustering up all her courage to prevent her voice from trembling while she calmly warns Lee she's about to scream for help, puts that scene in a whole new light. That was very powerful.
The same goes for Paul's experiences on the football field and, later, with Petal Moochmore. Paul's insecurities and overthinking are key in both stories, and he's overwhelmed by emotions. Although Matt did a terrific job in those episodes, conveying what Paul was feeling in both cases, the thoughts that Paul has in those moments is where book's strength lies; Jocelyn Moorhouse really is a very good writer.
The book also fills in some blanks. Watching the show, Anita goes from being obsessed by Vince Capaletti to being in love with Paul Barton without an explanation. In the book however, Anita sees Paul walking off the football field in tears after she just witnessed Vince and Susan kissing; the book mentions that this moment, as Anita would realise years later, is the moment she fell in love with Paul.
Cover of the Spanish first edition of the book.
No cast photos this time; what a shame. I wonder if readers of this edition even knew there was a whole TV show about it. And yes, that's Mr Jensen wearing a cap for some reason in the lower left corner.
Click on the image for a better look.
Photo from unknown source; used under "citaatrecht". See the legal disclaimer.
There are a few differences between the book and the series. Most notably, as previously mentioned, The Snollers do not appear and none of the stories involving them are present in the book. The only episode reworked into the book where the Snollers would appear, is Bye Bye Bartons. But the "scene" where Elly says goodbye to them was, of course, left out.
The English language editions of the book are currently not in print, but pop up from time to time on auction sites like eBay or by third party sellers on Amazon. The British edition is most common; the Australian edition is much rarer. As the show had a prolonged exposure in the UK by being repeated in 1991, I imagine the book sold better as well.
Expect to pay around 20 euros/33 Australian Dollars/18 British Pounds for a copy of either English language editions in great condition or around 7 euros/11 Australian Dollars/6 British pounds for a good but clearly previously read copy; don't pay more. Occasionally a better deal comes along.
Which edition should I get?
Textually, there's no difference between the Australian and British editions; the British version even includes the "poofter test" in all its glory. The covers differ slightly. Other language editions vary textually (not only in language, but occasionally removing or replacing references to Australian culture, like omitting the John Williamson song "True Blue") and, in case of both Spanish editions, also aesthetically (removing all references to the TV series from the cover and replacing them with illustrations by Javier Vázquez).
The two Spanish and the German edition are easier to get your hands on, but, of course, are not in English. If you don't mind reading warum Elly gegentlich in ihren lieblings Baum klettern will, the German edition is still available new and sealed from various online stores.
- There are two Spanish language editions; textually identical but with different illustrations.
- The second Spanish edition came out in 2003, making it the newest edition of the book.
- According to Libros Alcaná, the Spanish language editions were translated from the German edition. I was unable to verify this though.
- Even though the television series' title was shortened to The Bartons in the UK, the book carries the full title (C/o The Bartons).
- In Germany, the television series' title was changed to Die 6 Bartons while the book is titled Sechs Bartons; "sechs" means "6".
- The German edition was first available in Austria in 1990 and released two years later in Germany under the same ISBN number. Both versions of the book are identical.
- The cover of the German edition features the same photo of the cast on billycarts as is on the back of the English editions. In both cases, Elly seems to be wearing a yellow blouse. In reality, that blouse is red and black as seen in the episode The Great Billycart Aid Race. The colour change is perhaps caused by the printing technique or the picture was recoloured (as a grey scale version of that photo also exists and was included with the press kit).
Click on the covers for a better look
C/o The Bartons
Puffin Books Australia, 2 June 1988
C/o The Bartons
Pengiun Random House Children's Books, 30 March 1989
Los Barton ¡vaya familia!
Ediciones SM, 1991 & 1999
Translated by Pilar León
Illustrated by Javier Vázquez
Ediciones SM, 18 July 2003
Translated by Pilar León
Illustrated by Javier Vázquez
Hoch Wien (Vienna), 1990
Hoch Stuttgart, 1992
Translated by Elfi Gross
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