Non-fiction review: I’m From … Earth?

I was interested in reading I’m From … Earth? by Carissa Gobble, since my own children are TCKs. What’s TCK mean? Third culture kids. They don’t feel like they belong in their passport country, and they don’t feel they belong in the second (third, or fourth) country, either. They are “in between,” thus, the title “third culture.”

This book is well written and definitely shines a light on the good and the bad and a little bit about how Ms. Gobble overcame some of her third-culture issues.

I was expecting a book with a strong Christian perspective, which this isn’t, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily a problem. The author references pop music groups, movies, styles, and cultural things like that, but she’s not a groupie, and it doesn’t change her message about TCKs.

The author grew up in several countries in Asia, which have very different cultures from the United States. One of the shocks she mentioned was teens not deferring to older people, especially their grandparents. In Asian society, the elders are looked up to for knowledge and experience—a good thing, in my opinion, and hers.

She says she didn’t get inside jokes, especially those based on movies and music. My children didn’t either.

I would love to know what my own kids think about this book.

Our daughter says that she still once in a while experiences moments of culture shock—after more than fifteen years in the States and married to an American man.

Both of our children experienced one particular year of college that kind of marked the “not-of-this-world” line for them, in different ways. They were surprised. Some things were disappointing. Others were just weird. I think they’ve both settled in fine, even though they had lived in Europe all their lives.

Back to the book: I don’t necessarily think I learned anything brand new from it, but the writing is insightful. I enjoyed reading the results of her surveys.

Let me share a few sentences with you:

  • “If we aren’t careful to seek to understand, we will end up in judgment of something innocent.”
  • “No one knew the United States was a foreign country to me.”
  • “I couldn’t tell you how many jokes and innuendos went straight over my head and I had no idea what the people around me were referring to.”
  • “But, most of all, the biggest selling point in the news world is fear. Fear sells. It is a tried and true marketing tactic, probably the oldest of all time. Fear is the biggest seller of any story.”
  • “We (TCKs) are so used to big, worldwide problems that the smaller ones are hard to start conversations around because they feel so insignificant.”
  • “Because of this, we tend to have a ton of grace for the ‘other side of the story.'”
  • “We know that a lot of times we can’t accept the general narrative as the full picture or story, so we learn to ask questions, seek truth, and understand multiple sides of something before ultimately making our own decision on it.”
  • “It was hugely impactful that I got to be a part of my parents’ work and see how it was changing lives…. I got to see real love in action.”

I’m From … Earth? is definitely a worthwhile read for those in missions, military service, or foreign-based businesses and those who really want to understand third-culture people.

Non-fiction book review: Sick and Tired

Sick & Tired: Empathy, Encouragement, and Practical Help for Those Suffering with Chronic Disease, by Kimberly Rae.

Kimberly Rae begins her book like this: “Sometimes I want to slap a sticky note on my forehead that says, ‘I am sick. No, I don’t look sick at this moment. But, I am not faking having a disease just because I’m not in a wheelchair, and I am not a freak.'”

Of course, she explains she wouldn’t actually do that—since doing so would make her a freak for sure—and she explains life with chronic illness from the viewpoint of someone who has lived for many years with illnesses you don’t necessarily see.

This is a book for two kinds of people: the chronically ill, and everyone else.

If you know what it’s like to be sick with the kinds of illnesses people can’t see (a whole list here, including fibromyalgia, cancer, and hundreds more), you’ll find a friend in Kimberly Rae. She will help you laugh and cry and understand those around you—why they react to your illness in the most ignorant ways, and how you can actually help them.

If you are in the second category, you can’t possibly understand those who are chronically ill, but this book will help you empathize with and help them. Sick and Tired helps you to know what to do—and not do—for your friends. It will help you know what to say and not say. It assists you in knowing how to show you care in a loving, Christian way.

One of the major things I love about all of Kimberly Rae’s books is her non-condemning spirit. Here again, her purpose is to instruct and enlighten and even to entertain, but she does them all without making anyone feel “less than.” You’ll enjoy her ridiculous comics and funny quotes throughout. This book also works as a study, with questions for discussion and reflection at the end of each chapter.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the book, Sick and Tired, to you.