Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-06-08 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 5 user ratings

" This book grew on me as Angel's anger evolves within her and manifests itself in external ways. I also loved that a lot of the dialogue is in Tagalog without really being explained. " said.

" I reviewed this over at Rich in Color I want to give it 4.5 stars, but that's not a choice. " said.

" I absolutely ravaged this book. Lovely writing and a story that broght me back to my own teenage years. " said.

" Wonderful story with fascinating insight into Filipino and Filipino-American culture. Richly textured with languages, poetic rhythms and vivid imagery. " said.

" Sometimes the plot seems to get lost in the gorgeous language. Sometimes the language seems a little TOO gorgeous. Still, this is a lovely YA book. I liked reading a story about a girl who comes from an activist family & finds ways to continue the tradition of resistance. " said.

"Galang had better works than this, but that being said, Angel's journey is a very compelling one. I like how this book is marketed as YA lit, because far too often we don't hear the voices of the youth that aren't white. On top of that, Angel doesn't focus her life on having a boyfriend, despite a love interest. I just felt it a bit jumbled at times, and in the beginning, I was more interested in her political activism than her personal life. Only in the second half, when Angel is in Chicago, do we get more into her personal story. Yet, the ending was satisfying. (In reality, it's a 3.5, but you can't give 0.5 ratings.) Lastly, I don't have issues with the lack of translation of the Tagalog phrases because I speak it, but do read the end note on why there was no glossary. Very interesting stuff." said.

"I'm giving this a full five stars because I believe we need more stories like this, with dialogue flitting in and out of Tagalog beautifully.

Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery is a novel told in the first-person about a young Filipina named Angel and how she struggles with losing a father, being a part of a revolution, and supporting her family as they pursue the American dream. Angel's main conflict is internal and with her mother. There are times when Angel, as the main character, is extremely frustrating, but her reactions make sense given the deep trauma that her family has gone through. There are many pretty moments scattered throughout the pages, and I believe much of it can be attributed to the strong imagery M. Evelina Galang crafts throughout the novel. Additionally, I really appreciated the references to Catholicism and healing and the hodgepodge elements that make up Filipino culture, though I would have liked to see more of that. In a similar vein, the relationship between Angel and her mother is very layered, and I appreciate how the novel ends, both uncertain yet hopeful.
" said.

"M. Evelina Galang’s deft prose came to me like the smell of storm. Her prose is fluid, lush, like swaying banyan trees and the unmoving sea, but it was the voices Galang crafted that stayed with me. The women of this book were full of life and singsong: there was anger, bitterness, and love which made the narrative alive in the midst of trauma. ANGEL DE LA LUNA & THE 5TH GLORIOUS MYSTERY is the story of a young dalaga, a woman on the brink of an awakening, tethered between her country’s demands for equality and her mother’s desperate and determined will to survive. It begins in 2000, in the sweltering heat of Manila, and her father, a cab driver, is missing. The search for Panang leaves Ináy, her mother, broken, distant, gone, just like her father, but Angel has her sister and Lola Ani to take care of. The whirlwind of her father’s death leaves the family lost and adrift, but Angel finds solace in her Catholic school’s political movement. She marches the streets when the second Philippine People Power Revolution erupts in 2001. But when her mother reawakens from her morose slumber, Angel is abruptly lifted from her home, Manila, from everything she knows and holds dear, and is taken to a cold, distant city in the U.S. It’s here, surrounded by the gust of winds in Chicago, where Angel has her awakening: sexual, spiritual, and rebirth.

The narrative shifts in swift arcs, moving through the landscapes of Manila and Chicago like a film expanding and refocusing. But what shook me the most was the story of the Lolas (grandmothers in Tagalog): Filipina comfort women from World War II. I won’t reveal the plot, but when I finished the book, my body shook without volition, and a swell came from the belly to the throat: it was if the lolas’ stories entered my body. Galang has been researching Filipina comfort women since 1998, and their stories imbue the intergenerational trauma and resiliency of Angel and her family. Although Galang did not intend to write a YA narrative infused with the spoils after loss (Coffee House Press marketed it as their first published YA book), she succeeds at weaving a narrative that speaks directly to the pangs and melodies of the heart.
" said.

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