This is young writer and teacher Bebang Siy’s “photo album” of memories: there are those in black-and-white, vivid Polaroids, ID pictures from the Foto-Me booth and faded images yellowed by time, almost ancient, just like scenes from a dream. Nominated for a National Book Award, this witty, truthful and sometimes heartbreaking collection of pieces of the author’s young life rightly captures how it was growing up in crowded Metro Manila and surviving it as a young woman and a Filipina with Chinese ancestry and a heart full of hope.
That it was supposedly a feminist book didn’t strike me as the most important aspect of this book. I cared more for how rich and vivid the Filipino author’s recollection of her childhood was. By writing this book, it was like she captured the world she grew up in and immortalized it, because for sure, much of her experiences can now never be recreated in our fast-changing world. At times funny then sad, it made me yearn for my own childhood and made me wish I have as vivid a recollection of it and the ability to recreate it in one form or another. I have my own story, and this book made me realize how awesome it also is.
It’s a Mens World is written in Tagalog.
So sorry my review is very short. This is a repost of a Facebook status update made during my non-blogging period. I have forgotten details of the book, recalling only my emotional reaction after reading it.
For sure though, this book has made an impact in several members of my book club. It inspired a Readers-Turn-Writers (RTW) initiative that I participated in. This collection of creative nonfiction essays will be published soon, and soon I might be on the receiving end of book reviews like this. I dread it, but I don’t regret the attempt to be an author. It was horrible, I banged my head on the wall many times just so words would come out. It was excruciating revealing things about myself. It was fun when I finally finished writing, and so grateful I hope to never see my work ever again. It was a learning experience. Now I know: I much prefer blogging.