By David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken.
I remember this book being around during my childhood–probably around the time I moved to the U.S. when I was 15. I remember the term, presumably my mum had been reading about it. Then, recently, a good friend of mine interviewed me about ‘home’; she was doing a whole series of interviews. I talked a lot about a lack of physical home for me, given the cross-world move and also that my parents have moved away even from where we first lived in the U.S. Then she gave me this book.
The book is, in some way, simple. It is explanatory, it is helpful. It is a lot of short narratives from Third Culture Kids, a lot of advice. Accessible is perhaps the word I’m looking for. There is no larger narrative. It is expository. But is also dense; the pages are thin and it took me longer to read than I expected. While interesting, the lack of narrative sometimes made it hard to hold on.
Third Culture Kid: loosely defined, someone who has made one or more physical moves into different cultures during their childhood (aka formative years.) They also look at how there are many similarities between TCKs and Cross Cultural Kids, which could include adoptees, biracial kids, kids who speak a different language at home or whose parents are immigrants. However, TCKs often has a ‘passport country’ they return to as adults.
I don’t think I’m quite a TCK. I feel more like an immigrant, at this point, who immigrated during childhood. However, I related to many scenarios in the book: not understanding why my friends weren’t concerned with events happening in other countries, struggling to define what or where ‘home’ is, never knowing how to answer ‘where are you from’, using my move to make myself feel special or to explain my short-comings… The other distinction I would make, that makes me not quite a TCK, is that the American and Australian cultures are not that different — certainly closer than Togo and Norway, or many other combinations TCKs experience.
I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the enumeration of the benefits of being a TCK and the many tactics to reduce the detriments. I enjoyed rethinking my own move and how it affected me. I briefly talked to my parents about it, I would like to more, to discuss their memories of me during the move. I think there are many pieces I have blocked out.