The Means that Makes Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg
Updated: Jan 30
I've become more cynical as I've aged, so it takes a lot for a book to move me. I'm one of those readers who rarely award five-star ratings to books. This book was precisely the story I needed in this moment. It moved me and stirred my soul. It took me on a coming-of-age journey with a sixteen-year-old girl during her junior and senior years of high school.
Adelaide is the eldest daughter of an anthropologist. When she was still a preschooler, her father was sent to Ethiopia to study the culture. The Ethiopian village she grew up in became her home. Its residents became her friends and extended family. Just before her junior year of high school, Adelaide's father announces their family will return to the USA. This book chronicles the experiences a young White female (who's grown up in a Black African community) faces when she's suddenly thrust into a southern American town during the 1960s. Prejudice against Black people is foreign to Adelaide. She must decide if she will adhere to the status quo and live an easier life or follow her principles and shun the racist views of the White people in her family and church.
Adelaide must also decide if she will return to Ethiopia after graduation and resume her relationship with Maicaah, her childhood sweetheart, or attend college. Her choices are tough ones for a new adult, but she listens to her heart and exercises tremendous strength and wisdom for one so young. At the end of this book, I was proud of Adelaide and hopeful for the bright future I imagined she would have.
This book ought to be made into a movie. Well done, Ms. Kindberg!