NOTE: Earlier this month I posted about D-Day and under that short posting was my poem Crazy Dayze, with reference to this book and two others I will be reviewing. Here’s the link back to the poem if you wish to read or reread it: https://wp.me/p82Ooe-6u8.
Greta Thunberg is the protesting teenager who crossed the ocean in a ship because of her carbon footprint by plane was unacceptable to her, speaking before the United Nations and directing her harsh and angry criticism to the older generations who have been destroying our home, planet Earth.
This book, Our House Is on Fire, narrated mostly by her mother, Malena Ernman, also contains input from Greta’s father, Svante Thunberg, her younger sister Beta Ernman, and of course Greta herself. What surprised me about this heartfelt book is how open and honest all of the contributors are, starting with mental and physical health issues in their home, thus the subtitle: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis.
In the Preface, here is what Malena, a well-known opera singer who walked away from her career because of this dual crisis, says in the opening paragraphs, quoted directly, introducing herself and her family and noting the book is about the crisis that struck their family….
But above all it’s about the crisis that surrounds and affects us all. The one we humans have created through our way of life: beyond sustainability, divorced from nature, to which we all belong. Some call it over-consumption, others calls it a climate crisis.
The book begins with the issues in their home. Greta becomes anorexic and also is diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and sometime later, her sister Beata is diagnosed with several problems, including ADD.
Chapter by chapter, which are called scenes, the family is seen to be unraveling. Without the issue of climate change, the book would be an interesting study on how a family copes with two children who have mental issues, which Malena notes is more and more common in Sweden, a country that seem to enjoy a high level of sophistication, using the planets resources the way most of us do, indiscriminately.
However, when Greta begins her demonstration at her school, solo, the scenes shift to one that goes beyond the family, but the impact of Greta’s mindset does create a family shift. As Malena notes (direct quote):
Surely, not everyone needs to become a climate activist. But at a bare minimum we could all stop actively destroying our environment and our planet, and stop showing off that self-same climate destruction as trophies on social media…….I am a big part of the problem myself.
I have so many pages turned down with important statements and quotes that I would need several pages to complete this review. Instead, I am urging you to take the book from the library or buy a soft-cover version for $17.00 (Penguin Books) and read about how this family is surviving this personal and global crisis. Hopefully, you will want to heed the alarm and make changes in your lifestyle that will curb the rapid changes on the planet. (The other two handbooks listed at the bottom of my poem provide specific steps, and I will review those in July.)
This excerpt from the back cover of the book has a good summary:
Steered by Greta’s determination to understand the truth and generate change, they began to see the deep connections between their own suffering and the planet’s…..(fighting) their problems at home by taking global action. And it is the story of how Greta decided to go on strike from school, igniting a worldwide rebellion.
P.S. This book, reminded me of a movie from the late 1980s called “Amazing Grace and Chuck.” Amazing Grace is a basketball player and Chuck is the young boy protesting nuclear proliferation. Reading about Greta and her mom especially reminded me of Chuck and his father, who supports his protest.
Here is the info from the Internet in case you want to watch it:
Young boy Chuck chooses to boycott his Little League baseball games to protest nuclear proliferation in this drama. His example is soon followed by a number of high-profile professional athletes.. The protest eventually reaches the President of the USA.