Home is Where
The Journeys of a Missionary Child
Margaret Newbigin Beetham
Paperback |240 pp |216 x 135 mm
Margaret Beetham has done a wonderful thing making the ordinary extraordinary and the extraordinary ordinary, both at once. The word autobiography does not feel right: this is literature and theology and feminism (among other things). It recounts a way of growing up which is too nearly forgotten, or lost in either swagger or guilt. Above all she captures that elusive seductive distorted precision of childhood memory and weaves it into a story which is both honourable and beautiful.
I found this book both enchanting and illuminating, providing as it does a rare insight into the lives of the children of those spreading the Gospel to foreign lands. Despite the years of separation from her parents in the cause of an English education, Margaret grows into a warm-hearted sister and mother that one can only admire.
Home is Where tells of the journeys across continents, over time, and through the challenges of family love, loss and letting go of Margaret Beetham, whose parents were Helen and Lesslie Newbigin, missionaries in India between the 1930s and the 1970s.
The life and thoughts of her father, one of the twentieth centurys most admired missionary theologians, have been well documented, but the experiences of a missionarys family are rarely told. This is Margarets story, centred around the profound effects on a young girl of being sent away from the heat, colour and safety of her Indian home to an old-fashioned boarding school in England, and her relationship with the younger sister nearest to her in age, entrusted to her care in childhood and in later life.