Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Posted March 21, 2017on:
published January 2017
where I got it: purchased new
In my review for Okorafor’s first Binti novella, I was hopeful that she’d write more fiction starring this character, and that the first novella was just Binti’s initial adventure into the galaxy. My hopes for Binti were that she’d continue to meet new people and expand her worldview. In Binti:Home, Okorafor has chosen a much scarier adventure for the now more worldly Binti. After a year at University, she’s headed home for a traditional pilgrimage.
A young woman who ran away from home in the middle of the night to chase her dreams, a young woman who has been physically and mentally changed by surviving a Meduse attack on her ship, and is who is now friendly enough with a Meduse to bring him home with her. What does her family think of her now?
It’s like she’s coming home and saying “hi Mom and Dad, University is great thanks for asking. oh, I’ve permanently changed my biology, and befriended someone from a violent culture who tried to kill me and everyone on my ship! What’s for dinner?”
I’d rather hop on a spaceship and run as far away as I could than have that conversation with my family! Binti is a braver soul than I, that’s for sure. Coming home is terrifying. But, family is important, right? And no matter how far away you are, you should have somewhere to come home to because no matter what you’re still part of a family, right?
I guess the only way to answer that question is to come how and see how accepting your family is of you and the different choices you’ve made for your life. And that is one of the things Binti:Home is about. I am sure there are a ton of cultural references that went right over my head, but I really connected with the storyline of making choices different than what your family expected of you, and then of having to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Sometimes it takes a long time for your family to realize that you’re still you, even though you’re your own you, not their you. Can you pick and choose what family traditions you’ll follow?
Binti:Home is much longer as the first novella, which means Yay! More Binti, more Okwu, more interaction between them and her family, more depth of everything! Even better, for those of you who haven’t read the first Binti novella, you can absolutely start with this one and then read the 1st on later. For me, the way the plot unfolded in Binti:Home felt a little disjointed. I would have liked more background about why Binti needs to go on her pilgrimage just as her University experience seems to be taking off. And then at the end of the novella, there is this cliffhanger ending that also felt disjointed. It is connected to other things that are going on, but more discussion of the what and the why would have increased my enjoyment of this volume in Binti’s story. The good news is that reading Binti:Home reminded me of why I loved the first novella so much. Between reading Binti:Home and writing this review, I’ve reread Binti twice.
I do hope that Okorafor continues to publish Binti stories, and I trust that the next volume(s) in this series will answer all my questions. I have a feeling that down the road this series will be something I binge read.