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Our House Is on Fire

Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis
Narrated by: Maya Lindh
Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of a family led to confront a crisis they had never foreseen. Of a happy life with two young daughters which suddenly falters, never to be the same again. Aged 11, the eldest stops eating and speaking, while her younger sister struggles to cope. 

Slowly, alongside diagnoses of autism and selective mutism, their desperate parents become aware of another source for their firstborn daughter's distress: her imperilled future on a rapidly heating planet.  

Steered by her determination to understand the truth, the family begins to see the deep connections between their own and the planet's suffering.   

Against forces that try to silence them, disparaging them for being different, they discover ways to strengthen, heal, and act in the world.  

And then, one day, 15-year-old Greta decides to go on strike.

©2020 Malena Emman, Greta Thunberg, Beata Thunberg, Svante Thunberg (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"An extraordinary account of how one family rose, with unshakable moral clarity, to the tremendous responsibility of being alive at the moment when our immediate collective decisions will determine the fate of life on Earth. They share their story of courage not because they want our accolades, but because they demand our company. Greta Thunberg has already inspired a global moment - this book is part of how we will win." (Naomi Klein)

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An easy and touching read/listen

This is the first book that I've read that's co-authored by Greta whose fight and resilience I admire, and I found it to be a good introduction into the family, their journey and the causes they champion.

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Profile Image for Rachel Redford
  • Rachel Redford
  • 13-03-2020

a phenomenal family like no other

This book is a ragged assembly of short pieces written apparently by Greta Thunberg, her sister Beata, her mother Malena and father Svante, although (partly because it's on audio, not a printed book) it's far from clear who wrote what as the structure is so haphazard. Another problem with it is the narration. I presume Mya Lindh is Swedish and I'm afraid that even though her voice is pleasant, there is no nuance and no variation of expression which makes listening for over 7 hours tedious. I persevered with it because I wanted to understand the extraordinary phenomenon which is GretaThunberg, the 17 year-old with a history of severe mental conditions (Aspergers, autism, eating disorders, mutism...) who has had world leaders greeting her, and massive crowds of mainly very young girls listening to her like some re-enactment of the Children's Crusade. The book certainly does provide that background. And what a background! The hell the family went through since the children's births with two seriously affected non-conformist daughters (Greta refused to eat for months on end; Beata had titanic rages and hurled abuse and objects at her understandably end-of-her-tether mother). Malena (an opera singer with her own enormous talents and mental issues going back to childhood) and her husband have been brought close to mental and physical total burn-out and collapse as they have fought for their girls. Listening to this tells us exactly how the obsessions with a single topic typical of autism saved the life of this fearfully troubled child and her family. Literally. Greta's unshakable belief in her message is manna to her audience of particularly young children whose anxiety about the planet has been massively increased by social media. As Malena tells us, depression and anxiety amongst children has rocketed. Climate change and its off-shoots of destruction of our planet are reported again and again throughout this book - (the whole needed tighter editing). But the statistics provided are truly fearful, deeply distressing and Greta's blame-laying and assertions are wholly justified. I do wonder where the family goes from here. This is a book that should be heard, but don't expect to enjoy it!

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