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I got this graphic novel memoir for my 16 year old daughter for Christmas. She was able to use much of it for an ongoing History project here in Singapore, while I thought it would be perfect given our current reading theme.
A Graphic Memoir by: Lorina Mapa ISBN: 1772620114 (ISBN13: 9781772620115)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
This graphic memoir is largely a tribute of the author to her father who has just recently passed away and the city where she grew up in, prior to relocating to Canada where she now has her own family, and is currently raising her own children.
As she battles with denial (her father, after all, lives in a different continent entirely) and deals with her own grief and loss, she remembers what it is like growing up in the Philippines. As I read through her narrative, I realize that she comes from a very elite, influential clan of artists, politicians, showbiz personalities, and hacienderos.
While some parts of her memoir veritably reads like some kind of Who’s Who for those who grew up in the Philippines, it remained quite measured and was done with taste and subtlety. It invited the reader into the narrative, even as her evident position of privilege could have been exclusionary (an example of this is Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado), which could potentially alienate her reader. Yet the story was heartfelt, genuine, and vulnerable enough that it is clear how Lorina Mapa is a Filipino Canadian honouring her father, family, and country of birth through this memoir.
For those who are thinking that this will serve as a history text documenting the Edsa revolution, do think again. Mapa is writing for an international audience, which means that a lot of things have been condensed, with some parts highlighted more than others. Besides, it really functioned more as a general backdrop of what she went through during her teenage years prior to her entire family moving to Canada – yet with sufficient information and research thrown in to serve as an authentic representation of the time. I would love this to be included in the reading list of secondary level students in the Philippines.
I guess the highlight for me is when she documented her reading and musical journeys that served to define her as a hormonal teenager – the songs that she listened to, the books she read, and movies she watched.
In fact, I was so amused by this that I actually created a Spotify playlist based on her discography.
My husband, who was a teenager during the 80s (I was a little bit younger at the time), asked me whether there were any Filipino bands included in the Discography, and he was disappointed to find out there weren’t any. He pointed out that this was also the time when Filipino rock and punk rock emerged quite strongly. So rather than feature the songs above, allow me to end this review with two of the famous Filipino bands at the time.
Enveloped Ideas by The Dawn.
My Sanctuary by Identity Crisis.
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#LitWorld2018GB Update: 32 of 40: Philippines and Canada