Stephen King released his latest book, Duma Key, this past January. In addition to publishing another best-seller that topped the New York Times Bestseller List, there is another important note that every Yooper should be aware of.
On page 456 of the total 606 pages, Stephen King uses the word “Yooper”.
“Wireman was making crazy what’s-going-on gestures in front of my face. I turned away from him.
‘Panda, he saved your life.’
‘I know what I know,’ I said. ‘The sketch he was showing off in the plane…it was one of mine, right?’
‘Yes…he was so proud…Edgar, what are you-‘
‘Did it have a name? Did the sketch have a name? Do you know?’
‘It was called Hello. He kept saying, ‘Don’t look much like Minnesota dere’…doing that dumb Yooper thing of his….’ A pause, and I didn’t break in because I was trying to think. Then: ‘This is your special kind of knowing. Isn’t it?’
Hello, I was thinking. Yes, of course. The first sketch I’d done in Big Pink had also been one of the powerful ones. And Tom had bought it.
-pg 456, Duma Key by Stephen King
It’s not often the term Yooper is mentioned in mass media, pop culture, or a national bestseller. Everyone from the Upper Peninsula should take a little pride in this, but it still raises an important question.
Is Stephen King’s use of the word “Yooper” just reinforcing the stereotypes of our dialect?
The only reason Stephen King used the word Yooper was directly because he also used the word “dere”. Of course, most Yoopers can probably count hearing “dere” multiple times in any given day. So, Stephen King does know about the dialect in the Upper Peninsula, what else does he know about the U.P.?
Perhaps the most interesting question is, how many people reading the book across the entire world actually know what the word “Yooper” means?
If you know of any other best-selling books that mention Yoopers or the Upper Peninsula just drop a comment, we’d love to check it out.