Thursday, August 06, 2009

"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women

A Filipino YA novel in English


"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women (Cacho Publishing House, 2007) introduces readers to finding a mother's wisdom in a grain of rice, the parallel between human relationships and magnets, and Bell, her mother, and her sister Cory.

This book made me happy. Not because it's a bright and cheery novel - in fact it has its funny moments but is mostly a serious novel. But because good books make me happy, and this is definitely a solidly good book.

I have heard once that children love their parents and then love them again as adults. "I Hate My Mother!" is about that time in between, when teenagers "hate" their parents. Written in that unique way Filipino teenagers use English, and generously peppered with Filipino words and phrases, "I Hate My Mother!" traces the transformation of Bell's awe of her mother's wisdom as a little girl to her bewilderment, annoyance, and frustration with her mother as a teenager.

But as the years went by, it only became harder for me to understand anything Mommy would say. Even in my most patient moments, no beam of light would shine on me or on Mommy's words. Parang* I was losing all capacity for understanding.

But then again, more and more, I would come to believe it was my Mom who was losing all her wisdom.

...

Kasi** while I was getting wiser, Mommy was getting dumber. Like she was losing the wisdom Dad always talked about when I was a little girl. And she was losing it fast.


In this novel, Perpilili Vivienne Tiongson gives readers an almost pitch perfect portrayal of the INEXPLICABLE rage many teenage girls feel towards their mother.

I just wanted to feel nothing. For once, to feel like nothing's the matter with my Mom. To just watch her walk across the hall, or even into our room, without having to avoid her, without having to pretend that I was too busy to talk to her or pretend I had not noticed her at all. To not cringe at the way she chewed her food when we sat at the dining table. To not shudder at the slightest touch of her hand on my back. To not ice over at the words "I love you."

There is no clear, neat, happy ending for this novel. No resolution between mother and daughter. But the ending does satisfy in that there is hope. And as one cannot help but get emotionally involved with the story, the ending is also satisfying because it gives readers plenty of room to work out their own thoughts and feelings.

Needless to say, I recommend this book!


Loose English translations of the words in Filipino:
*It was as if...
**Because...

[I bought my own copy of "I Hate My Mother!".]

21 comments:

siobs said...

Hi, Tarie. I came across your blogsite because I've been looking for this book ever since I've read about it on the newspaper couple of months ago. I've looked for it in several bookstores here in Davao but they don't have it. I've searched on the online site of Powerbooks and Fully Booked, but they don't have it either. May I know where you bought your copy? Do you think they still have copies left? I hope they do because I'd really like to buy one. By the way, I sent you an email too. Thanks for this blog and hope to hear from you soon.

Tarie said...

For anybody looking for "I Hate My Mother!", I bought my copy at the Trinoma Mall branch of National Bookstore. :o)

Doret said...

This sounds really good. And its great that someone who was looking for this book, was able to find their way here. Thats one of the great things about not just talking about the well known books or authors.

Tarie said...

Hi, Doret! It IS really good. It's too bad it isn't available outside the Philippines. But even if it were, there are too many Filipino words and phrases used for it to be fully appreciated by international readers. (All the Filipino words and phrases in it make it ring true since Filipino teenagers really mix Filipino and English.) In the weeks to come I hope to review more Filipino books in English that international readers will love too! :o)

Doret said...

Oh, you got it in the Philippines. I was thinking, you picked this up at a mall. I was like, What! Where do you shop I want to roll with you.

It would be nice if Filipino teens living in the States could get their hands on this.

I usually appreciate when an author incorporates some of their own culture or language in their novels. It gives me a chance to learn something. As long as there is a word guide in the back its all good.

Tarie said...

Hi, Doret. :D Unfortunately, there is no word guide. Maybe in a future edition they will include one! Hint hint, Cacho Publishing House. :D

And you're right! Filipino teens in the US should be able to read this book. I think a lot of foreign publishers have trouble breaking into the US market. Sigh.

Zarah Grace C. Gagatiga said...

tarie, thanks for this cool review. i enjoyed reading the book myself. i know the author. i think she'd be happy to know of your review.

perpi alipon-tiongson happens to be one of the founders of KUTING (Kwentista ng Mga Tsikiting) and is very much active in the children's literature scene in Manila as professor in De La Salle Univeristy (Taft).

Angelica Louise said...

Great book. Made me feel a little bit.."guilty"? haha! I cried =|

Tarie said...

Zarah, please extend my warmest regards and best wishes to Perpi. Thank you. :o)

Angelica, aww. *hug* I cried too when I read this book! I remembered all the rage I used to have against my mother. :o(

Christie said...

I really would like to buy a copy of this book.
i am going through this period in life and a little 'reality slap' would really do me some good.
it'll be even more helpful because i am a pure filipina.
if anyone could refer me to where i can get this book, it would be greatly appreciated

Tarie said...

Hi, Christie! Thank you for visiting Into the Wardrobe! You're in the U.S.? Oh no, the book isn't available in the U.S. :o( :o( :o( Maybe one of your relatives in the Philippines could send it to you?

R said...

People can order directly from Cacho Publishing House. Phone: +632/6318361 Fax: +632/6315244

Tarie said...

Wow, thanks R! Woot! :o)

R said...

My pleasure Tarie. Let me add this: anyone who comes to our publishing house to buy any of our young adult novels and says: "Tarie sent me" gets a 20% discount (maximum 10 copies per purchase).

Here's our address:
Cacho Publishing House
Union corner Pines
Mandaluyong

(near the Boni MRT stop. Take Reliance St/Abbott Labs, then first left)
(From Shaw/Lourdes School Mandaluyong, take Sheridan then turn right at Boyds Coffee)

Tarie said...

R, are you publisher Ramon V. Sunico? :o) Blogger won't let me access your profile... Thank you so much!!!

I recently bought Owl Friends by Carla Pacis. Can't wait to read it! :o)

R said...

Yes but it's Ramon C, not Ramon V. Hope you enjoy Owl Friends-- it's Carla's first novel ever.

Tarie said...

Oops, sorry about that Ramon! *sheepish smile*

Candy Gourlay said...

love your reviews and look forward to more about the pinoy YA scene. i write YA with Pinoy characters but my prospective market in the UK so you can imagine the cultural leaps and bounds i must work with. more power to your blog!

www.candygourlay.com

Candy Gourlay said...

btw R, how do we order books from the UK?

Tarie said...

Hi, Candy! I am so glad to meet you! Hurray for British YA lit with Filipino characters!

And thank you for your very kind words about my blog. :o)

R said...

Hi Candy ~
My experience is that it's difficult to order just a few books. There are 2 reasons for this:
a) the cost of air mail usually exceeds that of the books themselves
b) the mode of payment. Unfortunately, we don't accept credit cards so one has to do it through checks and/or bank drafts. Buyer takes care of any extra charges

Best is still to run it through someone visiting the Philippines. (Now that I'm talking abut this, I just realized that I have a friend leaving for London next week i think. If you are interested, you know my email naman Candy.)