Thank you to the publisher who gifted me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jay Reguero has plans to spend his last semester of senior year playing video games with his friend before going to the University of Michigan. But, when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun has been murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs and no one will talk about what happen, Jay want to find out the real story.
Jay travels to the Philippines hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death. Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin that he didn’t know before he can face the horrible truth as well as the part he played in it.
It is clear to say I went into this book as a white-British woman who has no experience of the Philippines, or the drug war that is going on there. I know about it and try my best to keep up-to-date on news surrounding it but I have never experienced it or even anything remotely similar. So I went into this book very much unsure of how the story would go.
Going into this book I was worried about how the author would tackle the drug war problem that is happening in the Philippines and how the main character would deal with the issue. Jay is a Filipino-American with very little knowledge of the Philippines which is why I enjoyed that the author addressed the drug war as a learning experience for him and not something that Jay could fix. There was nothing in this story about Jay being a ‘savour’ and I thoroughly appreciated that.
Jay’s character is very willing to learn about the Filipino culture and the issue that is happening in the Philippines. Jay even gets called out a couple of things that he tries to do that aren’t right. Jay’s character grows and has realisations throughout the story about truth. I enjoyed reading his journey towards finding himself, the truth and learning about his home country.
One thing I want to talk about is how genuine the characters’ voices are. I feel that when it comes to stories that take on cultural representation it is very important to have realistic portrayals and this book does just that. I have read so many reviews of this book from Filipinos readers stating that the representation of many different aspects such as politics, religion, family relationships and even food, is excellent and as accurate as it could possibly be. This makes me like the book even more as an authentic cultural book is a book that needs to be read.
There is a recommended reading list right at the back of this book and it is safe to say that I am going to read as much as I can about the drug war in the Philippines. I want to expand my knowledge on this issue that so many people are facing in their day-to-day life. Being from England we don’t hear much about the problems that are ongoing. I would love to learn more about the problems and although this book is fictional it has opened my eyes to the issues that are being faced daily by Filipinos.
This book is extraordinarily and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This book is a hard-hitting and thought-provoking masterpiece that has the ability to blur the lines between what is reality and what is fiction. It also forces you to question where you stand on the situation and what can be done regarding it. It tackles more than just politics, it covers socioeconomic inequalities, sexism and racism, all of which are extremely important topics. This book is a big eye-opener that I will be recommending to a lot of people. It is really worth a read!