Review: Our House is on Fire by Malena and Beata Ernman, and Svante and Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a name that will be instantly recognisable to many people across the globe thanks to her work in environmental and climate change activism. Our House is on Fire is, in one part, the behind the scenes biography of her complex family life, and the events that led her toward activism. In another, it has a lot of information about the family's beliefs, passion and desire to make a difference. 

Narrated by Malena Ernman, the biography tells of her life as an opera singer who made a living travelling and working throughout Europe and how things began to change suddenly when her oldest daughter, Greta stopped eating and spoke very little. Their family life improves after both of her daughters, Greta and Beata are given formal diagnosis and find ways to convert their so-called problems into superpowers, and how Greta converts her concerns about climate change into an unstoppable call to arms, through messages that made their way right across the globe. Beata, meanwhile, is forging her own musical career, but often struggles with being in the shadow of her sister.

And all of this is in the shadow of what they consider to be a huge, global emergency.

This was an interesting and insightful read that made me think more about the way we often treat people, especially those who think and act differently, and the huge differences many of those people can make when they have the opportunity to have their voices heard. It also made me give considerable thought to climate change, and the need for systematic change, instead of the feel good exercises and responses that we so often get instead. This one isn't always easy reading, but it certainly is informative.



Ethan said…
This sounds like such a powerful story! I'm obviously aware of Greta, but I didn't realize how her crusade came to be. What a story!
Kathryn White said…
Thanks Ethan. This one really is an eye opener. She and her family have all led such interesting lives.

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