Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Fifteen-year-old Sula has always known she is different. Even though her parents have shown her nothing but love and acceptance, she sees her dark skin as a reminder of how she doesn’t fit in with the rest of her family.
What’s worse is she also feels that her parents are hiding something from her. After getting expelled from school, Sula reluctantly goes to stay with her mother’s friends. There she unexpectedly finds herself on a journey of self-discovery — a journey that keeps drawing her to the sea. Sula must not only figure our her parents’ secret, but also just how different, and possibly magical, she really is.
When Ms. Torres e-mailed me asking if I could review her book, I immediately said yes because I thought it was a Filipino mythology based novel and that I also wanted to support Filipino books. Thought it has some mystical elements it is not that heavily integrated. What I like about this book is that it featured a lot of Filipino culture and it made me realize how Western culture is prevalent in the Philippines that we often forget our own culture. Furthermore, using the post-colonial theory, this book showed how western culture have and is still influence our own culture. The relationship of Sula's family and friends was on point in a way that it reminded me of the typical Filipino family and my family as well. I love how the author highlight family, relationships, and food in this novel since those factors are very important in the Filipino culture, especially food! Like Sula's family, food is very important in our family. During family gatherings or fiestas in our province there will always be an obscene amount of food and its great that the author was able to showcase it in her book.
In addition, the characterization of Sula was also exceptionally good. I was able to relate to her in a way that she experiences hardships, emotions, and growing up in general, which is very humane. She also acknowledges the fact that growing up hard and challenging. Reading Sula's story made me reflect on my past and the experiences I have gained such as first love, family problems, friendship, heartaches, and identity problems. Same with Sula, I think that most of us are still trying to figure out the answer to the question, "Who am I?". I guess that is what made this book very appealing for me. Also, the novel tackles issues that are affecting our country (the Philippines) such as environmental and political issues. In environmental issues, the book presented how we badly we treat the environment and the animals such as the dugongs, which is presented in the book. The novel also showed the implications of capitalism, specifically greed, in our relationship with other people and how we treat the environment. This book showed the importance of awareness in regards with those issue.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially younger readers because it is a coming of age type of book and I believe that many of readers will learn a lot of values and the importance of taking care of the environment.
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