Who says learning a new language can’t be fun? Thanks to Jon Acuff, masterful linguist, bilinguist, trilinguist, and tricycle performer, the barrier between languages has been dissolved – that is, for anyone studying Finnish.
Hot off the fame of his best selling book, Doover, a historical fiction documenting the Finnish Civil War, Dr. Jon Acuff released his own personal Rosetta Stone. With a doctorate in Finnish linguistics, and twenty years teaching experience at a college level, Dr. Acuff is more than qualified to take on this grand venture. And he does so quite effectively.
Readers may notice upon purchasing the book that the title, Finish, appears to be misspelled. Dr. Acuff does not overlook this and explains that in Finland, Finnish is spelled with just one N. What a fun fact! We’re learning already. This is no mistake. Dr. Acuff is a teacher at heart, always prepared to deliver a tidbit of information. As Dr. Acuff writes in the introduction:
“Everything is a lesson, everything is teaching you. You just have to learn how to study it. You learn how to study it by having someone teach you how to learn how to study it. Once you’re taught how to learn to study the lessons everything is teaching you, you can finally learn the lessons and study them with what you were taught, both by the teacher who taught you to learn how to study, and by the natural lessons life has to offer.”
Ever the concise and coherent writer.
From cover to cover, the book is filled with lessons. There are even lessons hidden within lessons. Even the front cover has a hidden message, “Give yourself the gift of done,” which is, of course, complete gibberish to anyone who isn’t fluent in Fin(n)ish. However, for those who study diligently, it is said the message reveals the location of Dr. Acuff’s stash of gold from his early days as a Finnish pirate.
Further proof can be found in the red flag strewn across the front of the book, the signature flag of his pirate ship. And notice the gold lines that all seem to find origin at that coded phrase. Is this language book really a secret treasure map? Could Dr. Acuff, author, professor, pirate, really be giving us clues to the whereabouts of his mountains of gold? It’s said he buried it deep in a cave, where sunlight spills in at dawn. The trees hum, the mountains gawk, and the river minds his own business. And there’s a thumping, a thumping of ethereal drums. Gold, precious gold is oh so near. Could it be so?
I guess readers will just have to learn Finnish to find out. That, or they could always plug it into Google Translate, which gives us, “The real treasure is learning.”
Whether the real treasure is learning or actual treasure doesn’t matter. Whether I can get a refund on my tickets to Finland, my spelunking gear, and my metal detector doesn’t matter. The hours I spent pouring over this book, searching for clues, making crude maps, nights spent dreaming of precious, precious gold doesn’t matter. What matters is the journey, and the lessons that we’re being taught by everything around us that we can learn if we’re taught to know how to study them.
For promising an easy way to learn a second language and delivering, Jon Acuff’s Finish receives a 7 out of 10.