Susanne Bacon, author of the Wycliff novel series, recently published her German-American Essays in a book called “Home from Home”. Each essay describes what it feels like to be a German in the United States. To look at everyday life through a slightly different lens, shaped by different experiences. Susanne came to the US as an adult, and is able to compare both countries objectively. She clearly loves both places. Home from Home is not about “Germany is better”, instead it looks at both countries side by side sharing the good and the confusing. Growing up in the United States with German parents, and the rest of my family in Germany, I sometimes looked at America through a different lens, and so this book resonated heavily with me. Essay topics range from holiday celebrations to grocery shopping, from nature walks to foods. Think of it as everyday life with a German accent.
Home From Home: German American Essays by Susanne Bacon
Susanne moved to the United States from Stuttgart a few years ago, already a successful writer and jouralist. It was only natural that she continue writing, even if it meant using English instead of German. These essays were originally published as a weekly column in The Suburban Times in Lakewood, Washington as answers to questions people ask when they want to know more about “why did you come here, and what was it like there?”. For me, “Home from Home: German-American Essays” is exactly the kind of book you want to read when you are looking for something familiar. Because each topic is a separate essay, you can dip in and out, and even flip forward to something that fits your situation. I read most of it while sitting in a hospital this week. It held my attention taking me away, however briefly, from the craziness of a waiting room and bedside folding chair.
So many of the stories and situations are completely familiar. The special feeling of Advent that is so different from the crazy pre-Christmas madness here in the US. The way Germans treat vacation differently from Americans (mostly, it’s about time and distance). And the story about shopping with a trolley made me laugh (because I’ve tried to get a shopping trolley on a bus too). But it’s more than just “when I grew up in Germany it was like THIS” stories. Susanne also shares the parts of her life that have been enriched by coming to America. Yes, Germany is beautiful, but so is her new home. She shares stories about her hikes, her new garden, and the colorful birds that live in her backyard.
Reading this book is like sitting down for a chat with a friend. It’s lovely and special and would make a great present for anyone you know with a German background. “Home from Home: German-American Essays” is available in English AND in German, so you can read in the language you feel most comfortable with. (I would even suggest that this would make a great read for German Learners… the concepts are easy enough to follow along).
Order Home from Home: German-American Essays Here
In English and/or German
More books from Susanne Bacon
Delicate Dreams is the first book of the Wycliffe Series, I’ve reviewed it here–> Delicate Dreams
Recently I read Islands on Storm, a really interesting book about the people involved in the German occupation of the Jersey Islands during WWII. It was an unexpected delight, and I highly recommend it.
Follow Susanne Bacon on Facebook–> https://www.facebook.com/susannebaconauthor/