Book Review: 'Home to Heaven' by Pearl S. Buck - Because There's No Place Like Home

Picture Credit: Amazon

Humans are such species who always urge for safety, protection and home-like feeling. We like to stay in our comfort zone as far as it is not a need of the hour and necessity to adapt to a new environment. 

We try our best to stay in our own places whether it is our hometown, our work life or our social interactions and hate leaving our roots because they are safe and pleasing just like a heaven to us.

Henry and Miriam also wanted to return back to their heaven from just a mere home which was just a reason for all the distress in their life from the time they left their hometown.


Book’s Name - Far and Near (comprises Home to Heaven )

Author’s Name - Pearl S. Buck

Genre - Fiction

Language - English

Synopsis - Spoiler alert!

Miriam and Henry are delighted to know that Henry got transferred to Shanghai from Washington. Henry tells Miriam that two weeks from that day, they would be shifted back to China. Miriam is filled up with pleasure and joy as her life in Washington had been tough. 

Miriam always faced a lot of struggle in handling her three kids, Hal, Mollie and Robert along with all the household chores. The maids were not that cooperative in Washington and the servants had their own attitude which burdened Miriam with all the work on her shoulders. 

But now, she is more than relaxed because back in China, she knows her life would be again joyous and full of peace as her husband has got the first position which brought honour to their life.

Henry is also pleased with the fact that he is the only senior officer who got promotion and permission to shift to China. However, their children are not so happy by the news. Finally they both compare the difference that came in their life from then to now and are just excited to move. 

The day arrives and the whole family, except Hal who stayed back in Washington because of his love for baseball as he has been recently appointed as the captain in his school of his team. 

Their life becomes lavish,full of comfort and happiness again as soon as they return back to their hometown-China. They both thought that it was wonderful to be back as it felt like heaven to them.

About the Author

Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (1892-1973) was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Since her childhood Pearl spoke in English , and Chinese taught by her mother and by her tutor , Mr. Kung. At 18, Pearl attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Graduating in 1914. 

Pearl taught at Nanking University for 12 years. Her first novel , East Wind, West Wind, was published in 1930 by John Day & Co. whose publisher Richard Walsh later married Pearl in 1935.

Pearl Buck’s second novel ‘The Good Earth’ came out in 1931 and soon became a bestseller, earning her the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells medal in 1935. It was made into a major MGM film in 1937. More non-fiction works then followed.

Less than a decade after her first book was written, Pearl won the Nobel prize in literature , the first American woman ever to accomplish so. Pearl published over 70 books by the time of her death. 

About the Book

‘Home to Heaven’ is a heart touching story of a couple who had to leave their hometown, their heaven due to some unavoidable circumstances and social distress in China. The whole story reveals their strong desire and urge to return back to China.

The story line is beautifully crafted and inculcates the emotional connect and understanding between the couple. They both know of each other's suffering and hence, never complained to the other about the miserable life they were spending there.

Washington was a mere shelter for them and the conditions were awful for them, moreover it never felt like home to either of them. The kids however show some connect with that place and people because for them it was their home as they grew up there only.

Psychological analysis

One of the most important attributes of human characteristics has been highlighted in the whole story- sense of association. Henry and Miriam struggled for a happy life in Washington because they never got associated with that place.

They found people very unfamiliar, unfriendly and harsh whereas back in their home town, even the servants were polite and sensible.

However kids got well along with their present home as they associated more to that place where they grew up & spent most of their childhood.

The bond between the couple has been beautifully crafted. Their understanding, compromise for comforting the other and support seems to be ideal. Hence various aspects of a common man’s life are subtly blended throughout the story line.

Famous Quotes

  1. “Don’t I know. But it would have been awful if you’d lost it. Think of having to live here….”

  1. “Good thing you don’t have to cut bread the rest of your life.... You wouldn’t have 10 fingers left”

The Bottom line

Home to Heaven’ is an emotional journey of a couple who urge to get back to their hometown. If you admire emotional, meaningful and realistic reads, then you should give this short story a try.

This story will make your eyes wet , bring stupid smile on your face and will definitely move your soul. 

My ratings for the book - 5 on 5

You can buy a copy from Amazon right away - Home to Heaven (Far and Near)

Written By - Palak Chauhan