A saga rich with origin myths, national and personal . . . Castillo is part of a younger generation of American writers instilling literature with a layered sense of identity.”


This is the story of Hero De La Vera, who is from the Philippines and has come to America to stay with her uncle Pol, his wife Paz and their young daughter Roni.

Hero is estranged from her parents because she became involved in the civil war in her country, was arrested, had her thumbs broken so she can no longer practice medicine, and when released was basically now on her own.

She will live in a Filipino community. Her uncle, a former surgeon in his own country, is now a security guard, her aunt is a nurse, and so it will fall upon Hero to take Roni back and forth to school, clean the house and babysit her cousin. She will eventually become friendly with others from her country and she will develop strong relationships with some of them.

This is a story of a community that is close knit, it shows how those new to a country can adapt with the help of family and friends. But it is also a story about the old ways many cling to, and how this affects the younger community, many who,only know life in America.

At times heartbreaking, at times a lovely story watching Roni grow up and love her new cousin, and at times a story of serious decisions that must be made, and how these decisions will affect all those around them.

Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 13th July 2018

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Richard Franco