Growing Up Filipina: Excerpts from a Review

Self’s review of Helen Madamba Mossman’s A Letter to My Father:  Growing Up Filipino and American (University of Oklahoma Press, 2008  ) was featured in the Winter 2008 issue of The MultiCultural Review:

Among the many pleasures afforded by reading Mossman’s account of growing up as the child of a Filipino father and an American mother, there is the sheer pleasure of encountering a vanished world:  the world of pre-World War II Philippines . . .  Her father, who was not a rich man, got to pursue graduate studies in the United States, where he met and married Mossman’s mother, an Oklahoma farm girl with ambition.  The couple returned to the Philippines, where Mossman’s mother set up housekeeping on the island of Negros while her father worked for a rich sugar-growing family.

Initially, life on the island was idyllic:  the Philippines was far from the center of world politics, and news of the conflict in Europe reached the family as a distant echo.  Their first contact with the Japanese came in January 1942:  Mossman and her younger brother were “building sand forts” by a lagoon near their house when her brother said, “Hear those planes coming in?  They sound like washing machine motors.” . . .

For the next two years, the family lived in hiding, with little more than the clothes on their backs.  Mossman’s account of their ordeal is riveting, but more hardships followed when the family returned to the United States, a country where racism was an ever-present reality.

*   *   * *

And here are the rest of the books self is interested in reading, after perusing the Winter 2008 issue of The Multicultural Review:

After reading Anne Serafin’s review:  Angolan writer Jose Eduardo Agalusa’s novel, The Book of Chameleons, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn

After reading Dena El-Saffar’s review:  Deborah Akers’ short story collection, Oranges in the Sun; and Saudi Arabian author Abdulbaker’s novel, Wolves of the Crescent Moon.

After reading Jaswinder Gundara’s review:  The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories:  Flash Fiction From Contemporary China, translated from the Chinese by the editor, Shouhua Qi.

NYTBR 18 January 2009: A Very, Very Short List

Among other things, self watched “The View” today.  And Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” was the guest.  Self admits she had been none too enamored of the movie’s plot-line, but after seeing Dev, well, heck, he was the cutest thing, in super-tight pants that made him look like something out of the 1950s, and a shockingly crisp British accent.  They made him do a few dance moves, and he was game.  Hubby wanted to see this movie last weekend, but self declined.  Now, she wants to see it.  Even though she’s had wind of a controversy over why Indian director Loveleen Tandan deserved co-directing credit, along with Danny Boyle.

In addition to watching “The View,” self continued to plow through stacks of reading material that arrived in the mail while she was away.  Listed below are the books self is interested in reading after perusing The New York Times Book Review of 18 January 2009:

(1)     After reading Christopher de Bellaigue’s review of Barry Unsworth’s new novel, Land of Marvels:

  • Barry Unsworth’s Land of Marvels

(2)     After reading Lisa Fugard’s review of Janice Y. K. Lee’s first novel, The Piano Teacher:

  • Janice Y. K. Lee’s The Piano Teacher

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