Book Review: Stranger Back Home
As you know, I am a fan of E.L. Haines. So I am supremely honored to be able to share this five star review of Stranger Back Home.
We once again follow along with Sparrow on a new adventure, but this time, we follow him back to his home, a place of creatures we only know to exist in fantasy realms. When Sparrow is suddenly called home by a family member he barely knows, and who he is not sure he wants to know, he finds himself caught up in a dangerous conspiracy that involves even his closest allies. In the midst of all the danger and intrigue surrounding him, he also finds himself battling his own concepts of social issues as he compares what he has observed in one world to what he experiences in his home world.
Once again, Haines is masterful in sharing this merry jaunt with Sparrow. Stranger Back Home takes what you know about Sparrow so far from his other adventures in our world, and puts perspective on how Sparrow is able to do much of what he does. In this adventure, you get to see many of his layers pulled back explaining his outlooks, his reactions, and his seeming enjoyment in subterfuge and secrecy. There are fantasy creatures, there is magic, there is power struggle, and so much more - plus a feisty punk vampire and a fiercely loyal ghost of a butler!
Stranger Back Home is well-written and carefully thought out. The way Haines once again addresses real life social issues in a humorous yet thought provoking manner is one of the many reasons I so enjoy his books. This particular adventure touches on racism versus perceived racism versus virtual signaling and projecting, but it does so without being preachy or condemning.
(On a personal note: There is a quote in the book, that I believe needs to be shared:
"The world should be full of people who want to share their culture and heritage with everyone, not people who hoard their culture. The world needs people who can unite around their differences, not divide society into categories and create meaningless conflict for them."
Haines, E.L.. Stranger Back Home (pp. 264-265). Kindle Edition.
The reason this quote stands out to me is because I once knew a man who immigrated to the US from a country in Africa. His take on racism in America was nearly verbatim what this quote says. Every time the race issue springs back to the forefront of our culture, I think of the conversations I had with that man regarding what real racism looks like versus what our society keeps trying to make it. Since knowing that man, I have found more and more people with his direct lineage who not only agree, but also actively advocate for truth regarding racism to be shared mainly within their own communities. So reading this quote reminds me that perspective is everything, and sometimes taking a step back can help us see more clearly the issue that is really at hand. Ok - enough of that.)
I highly recommend adding Stranger Back Home to your reading list, as well as all of Sparrow's other adventures. This book is good for teens and older, with minimal swearing, only implied violence, and no sexual encounters. I have absolutely no criticism of this book, and I am eager for Sparrow's next adventures wherever they may be.
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