Book Reviews and Awards

A Stranger Calls Me Home

VOYA, June 1992

4Q 3P J S Savage, Deborah. A Stranger Calls Me Home. Houghton Mifflin, 1992. $14.95. 202p. 0-395-59424-3. Set in New Zealand, this coming-of-age novel describes in rich, vivid language the search for self and love. Although the setting seems exotic, the problems encoun- tered by Paul, Simon, and Fiona are familiar to many young adults. Each chapter delineates the ongoing scene from one of their three points-of-view. Paul has just returned to New Zealand after four years in the United States; he is unsure where he belongs. Simon is half-Maori, a fact that comes home to him whenever he looks in a mirror and sees a stranger there. He longs to find his birth father and become part of the culture to which he so obviously belongs. Fiona wishes to be part of a family other than the Maori one that has taken care of her since her mother died. She realizes that as a white she can never really be pan of the marae (clan) of the Maori. Their three desires and lives are entwined as they search for the way to fulfill their longings. Their search for love becomes a heart-rending triangle as the boys both fall in love with the wild, untamed Fiona. They are all searching for a place to come home to, a family, something many young adults are also looking for in this time of divorce and dysfunctional families. The hidden stories that are revealed as part of each of their ancestry is also familiar to many who will read this. The characterizations are strong and paint a fine portrait of each of their separate personalities. They are excellent foils for one another. This has an almost eerie quality to it because of the tumultuous nature of Fiona’s personality and the puzzling prologue. A fine novel which will be an excellent addition to a list for a study of multiculturalism. Not everyone will pick this up but the right teen will be touched by its strength--Kathryn L. Havris. (VOYA/June 1992)