While Binti dealt with introducing its namesake protagonist and charting her traumatic journey to Oomza University along with the alien Okwu, Home expanded upon themes of family and identity while also dealing with a topic that I think isn’t touched upon nearly enough in contemporary SFF: dealing with the aftermath of trauma. There is a definite CW for PTSD and trauma in this novella, but it is handled very respectfully.
This book sees Binti returning to Earth with Okwu in tow as an ambassador, and reuniting with her family and friends, the people of the Himba tribe. I found her struggle to find her place amid her recent physical and emotional changes to be incredibly powerful, especially once her grandmother’s people, the Enyi Zinariya, were introduced.
But my favorite part of this novella was the frank portrayal and discussion of Binti’s post-traumatic stress disorder. As a student and researcher of psychology in my professional life, it was refreshing to see something with such stigma portrayed so prominently. Binti suffers from panic attacks, nightmare, and flashbacks, all of which are detailed with raw honesty. Not only that, but this book has Binti seeing a therapist, and slowly learning strategies that help her process her emotions and her traumatic experience. I loved that this book normalized seeking therapy after an experience such as the one Binti had. Often SFF brushes off the difficult experiences of its characters, when the reality is that many of them would absolutely merit therapy in the “real” world. I am of the opinion that frank and respectful portrayal of mental health, even in genre’s lauded for their escapism, go far in reducing stigma.
I was thoroughly satisfied with this novella, and can’t wait to learn more about the infamous ‘Night Masquerade’ from this book, as it is the title of the next part of the series.