Tall Story

Tall Story[BOOKS] ✯ Tall Story ✴ Candy Gourlay – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Andi is short And she has lots of wishes She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, Andi is short And she has lots of wishes She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongsThen Andi s biggest wish comes true and she s minutes away from becoming someone s little sister As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball When he finally arrives, he s tall all right Eight feet tall, in fact plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growthIn a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures. Candy Gourlay truly loves the Philippines and it just shows in this book, Tall Story This being her first novel makes me agree with one of the blurbs that she is an author to watch Having been married to a British national and now raising her three sons in London, I will not be surprised to know that she has changed her citizenship from Filipino to British But the way that she carefully, positively and realistically depicted the Philippines and its people, culture, folklore and even superstit Candy Gourlay truly loves the Philippines and it just shows in this book, Tall Story This being her first novel makes me agree with one of the blurbs that she is an author to watch Having been married to a British national and now raising her three sons in London, I will not be surprised to know that she has changed her citizenship from Filipino to British But the way that she carefully, positively and realistically depicted the Philippines and its people, culture, folklore and even superstitious beliefs is just amazing Gourlay must now be dressing up and talking like a British lady but deep inside, she is still a Filipina by heart For that, if novel writing is the same as basketball, this novel is like a successful ring less three point shot Swish Swish Swish.First and foremost, this tells the story of a widower, Mary Ann who has to leave her son in the Philippines and work in London to give him a better prospect in life This is the story s basic premise Gourlay used a typical nurse which has been the country s major human export next probably to domestic helps and entertainers The son she left behind, Bernardo Nardo Bernie Bernard was not maltreated by the couple, Mary Ann s sister and husband, who raised him like their own son While in London, Mary Ann makes sure that Bernardo is growing up still feeling her love she calls him almost everyday, visits him every other year and her fervent wish has been to have her son join her in London someday These show how close knit Filipinos families are and the nature of Filipina mothers nurturing, caring and their love for their children is pure and unconditional Swish Swish Swish.Second, the use of a well loved Filipino legend of Bernardo Carpio was brilliantly handled The Philippine Literature has its own mythology that fortunate writers like Gourlay are introducing to the world The secondary characters of the witch like mother and daughter, Gabriela and Nena provide the contemporary touch to an old belief of amulet or a wishing stone These could turn off some highbrow readers but this book is classified as YA and the effective prose of Gourlay made them all entertaining and believable Swish Swish Swish.Third and the last noteworthy point is that no matter where Filipinos live, their hearts still remain Filipinos Bernardo has been dreaming of joining his mother in London since he became aware of his condition as a child living with his auntie and uncle However, when he is already with his mother, he misses the Philippines the food his auntie used to cook, the people who went to their house and even his bestfriend, Jabar. Through Bernardo, Gourlay puts a face to the many Filipinos who are overseas and missing the home they left behind Also, Bernardo s new family, including his stepfather who insists that he be called Dad instead of Uncle welcomed him with open arms Having met his stepsister Amandolina Andi only the second time, their bond as siblings has to take time to develop and this is part of their characters changes clearly captured and depicted by Gourlay in her plot.I just love books that make me proud that I am a Filipino Thanks to Tina for this book In all the years that I ve been actively reading, this is the first time I ve read a book where the characters are Filipino, where the majority of the story is set in the Philippines, where my culture is breathing and so alive.Bonus Tall Story is also written by a Filipino author.It s incredibly cruel And it says so much about our publishing industry We need diverse books We needmarginalized authors with unique stories to partake And we need you to champion them just as much as yo In all the years that I ve been actively reading, this is the first time I ve read a book where the characters are Filipino, where the majority of the story is set in the Philippines, where my culture is breathing and so alive.Bonus Tall Story is also written by a Filipino author.It s incredibly cruel And it says so much about our publishing industry We need diverse books We needmarginalized authors with unique stories to partake And we need you to champion them just as much as you do for your standard default books Why would a giant shudder Regret, of course Old Tibo would shake his head sadly All giants regret that they had to leave Heaven to be with their mortal mothers I ve been a voracious reader as long as I can remember At a young age I started devouring classic Filipino short stories about folklore from Sari Manok, the different tales of how Makahiya and Mount Maria Makiling become, The Story of the Pi a, Ibong Adarna, The Monkey and the Turtle and .These stories molded me These characters are my people They are my home.And reading Tall Story feels like coming home Don t be surprised now, Andi, your brother is tall Tall, you hear me Tall Story follows the life of Andi, a thirteen year old girl who is obsessed with basketball She is persistent and wants to be her school s new point guard She is equally hoping her half brother, Bernardo from the Philippines will be a fan as much as her.Then he strutted off from the plane.And yep He was tall.He is an eight foot tall, sixteen year old boy.And from where he grew up, he is heralded as a hero Because of his unusually long limbs.And the old legend about Bernardo Carpio, the giant who once saved their village from an earthquake.Tall Story is consuming, delightful and incredibly sweet.I could easily guess this would be one of my longest reviews in a while I will try my best to highlight every bit of selling point To help with that, here s the short bullet list of what I ll be discussing.Characters plot family and friendship dynamics Filipino culture superstition Sexism feminismAn immigrant characterThe characters are well crafted They speak to me I love Bernardo s intimate relationship with his Aunt and Uncle, with his friend Jabbar and the way he interacts with his fellow countrymen Bernardo s relationship with his mother and half sister, Andie is fascinating I adore that Bernardo and his mother converse in Tagalog, their fierce love and regard for each other is heartwarming And because Bernardo and Andie didn t have plenty of time to get to know each other before, there is strangeness coming from Bernardo He didn t know how he would approach his younger sister who completely grew up with a different upbringing than him.Andie, on the other hand has pent up resentment coming from her side which she will soon find a way to understand Gourlay delivers this situation and difference very well.The villager s strong belief in superstition is extremely amusing to me because I know most Filipinos still follow the traditional ways It is true and my whole clan is a firm devotee.There is indisputable intersection between Filipino culture and our strong belief in folklore and history We are very protective of this They re as good as the gospel of the Gods.Once again, Gourlay balances the firm culture of the story, the magical voice of the narrator and the scientific reason This is what makes this a brilliant story Everything is effortlessly woven together.Andie, our thirteen year old female character isn t exempt to sexism At such a young age, she has a handful of people discouraging her from achieving her dream It s not the ideal career for women her mom says We don t have a basketball team for girls The captain of the boy s team says But that didn t stop her from persevering and showing everyone she can do it This is a wonderful message to partake to everyone, especially younger kids.How were my new classmates going to react when I stepped in through the door Would my legs fit under those desks Would they laugh at my broken English I had not slept a wink the night before, worrying.Aside from the constant alienation Bernardo experiences because of his height, he starts thinking about how his classmates will perceive him, because of his broken and unusual English.This left a mark on me.How many people who don t have English as their first language feel the need to change their accent because theirs isn t the norm Because it seems embarrassing and they are ashamed Because it doesn t conform to the standard of western culture Plenty There are hundreds Thousands Millions.That bullshit needs to stop.I am tremendously happy Tall Story discusses this in such a manner.At this point, if you re not clamoring for this book I don t know what to tell you any Tall Story is a book I would heartily recommend to young readers and up.Review also posted at Hollywood News Source First posted at Pinoy PopMy brother doesn t know this, but I consider him to be one of my best friends He s four years older than me, and like every other sibling pair, we used to have our share of screaming matches when we were kids We only started having serious conversations as we grew up, thanks to the long rides from school to our house during college, when he d pick me up My relationship with him gave me a soft spot for stories about brothers and sisters, so it was no surprise that I co First posted at Pinoy PopMy brother doesn t know this, but I consider him to be one of my best friends He s four years older than me, and like every other sibling pair, we used to have our share of screaming matches when we were kids We only started having serious conversations as we grew up, thanks to the long rides from school to our house during college, when he d pick me up My relationship with him gave me a soft spot for stories about brothers and sisters, so it was no surprise that I couldn t wait to read the recently released Tall Story by Candy Gourlay.Tall Story chronicles the tale of half siblings Bernardo and Andi, from the day they meet for the first time Bernardo grew up in the Philippines under the care of his aunt and uncle, after his mom, a nurse, relocated to the United Kingdom to work Bernardo grew up waiting for his papers to get approved by UK Immigration, so that he could live in London with his family Andi is a small girl who loves basketball and barely knows her older brother, save for a few letters and phone calls All that Andi knows is that her brother is tall, as her mom often stresses, and she wants him in London so they can play basketball together but when he finally arrives, Andi is in for a shock Bernardo is not just tall he s an eight foot giant As Bernardo and Andi get to know each other, Andi is pulled into Bernardo s magical world and Bernardo learns how it feels to have a family.If I could use one word to describe this novel, it would be heartwarming I was thoroughly charmed by the entire book, and not just because it s a brother sister story I knew I d like Andi from her first line Rush hour So many armpits, so little deodorant What Andi lacks in height, she makes up with ferocity and her can t miss basketball skills Bernardo, on the other hand, is literally a gentle giant he s huge but not aggressive, sometimes rash and forgetful, but always bearing good intentions Bernardo and Andi s voices are distinct, and they play very well off each other, giving readers a chance to understand and sympathize with both points of view I ached for the two main characters to be friends, and rejoiced when they grew closer as the book went on They weren t constantly in conflict, which is how some authors portray estranged siblings, but instead, simply ignorant of how to act around each other There was a mutual love and affection, but it was hard to bridge the cultural gap that had grown between them.Bernardo s Filipino culture was juxtaposed against Andi s British culture, in such a way as to highlight the differences between them Filipino was portrayed with a lot of color, laden with some superstition and magic unique to Filipinos I m not too familiar with local folklore, so I wasn t familiar with the legend of Bernardo Carpio, so I came to the story with littleknowledge than these foreign reviewers, and I agree that Gourlay managed to weave the legend cleverly into the story, leaving readers wondering if Bernardo the human is actually a reincarnation of Bernardo the giant Candy also added another magical and scary element, in the form of Nena, the town witch, and her daughter, Gabriela, which gave the storydepth, and showed the diversity of Filipino culture and myth If you re not keen on magic, however, you aren t forced to accept that world view Gourlay provides a possible scientific explanation for Bernardo s height and other ailments, and leaves the truth open I thought this was really smart, as it grounded the story into the real world while it still reached for something out of the ordinary While there were still some things in the end that seem to defy rational explanation, the author leaves it up to the readers to decide which to believe view spoiler Underneath all the height is a lot of heart, as a reviewer onsaid I found myself in tears at several parts in the book, especially when Andi and Bernardo start to bond The fate of some of the antagonists was something you d not wish on your enemies, too, and my heart broke during a scene where calamity struck the Philippines In the last few chapters of the novel, Gourlay effectively showed how many people turn a blind eye toward what happens in distant parts of the world Like this reviewer, I found this particular passage heartbreakingly true And the weird thing was, everybody probably knew about it Everybody had glanced at the newspaper headlines or heard the radio in passing or glimpsed something as they changed channels on the TV Hundreds of Casualties in Massive Philippine Earthquake But hundreds are not people, are they And blank faces on TV are not people either Despite this, Gourlay also showed how resilient Filipinos can be, and how distance will not stop us from caring for our homeland hide spoiler Candy Gourlay certainly knew her stuff, having lived in and been immersed in two different cultures, and she knows how to write a good older brother younger sister relationship despite not having an older brother although she had an older sister and some younger brothers Tall Story is a poignant, heartwarming story of clashing cultures, of family and sibling love, with just the right amount of magic, tears and laughter This is one story that everyone, whether British, Filipino or otherwise, would not regret having read What you want is not always what you get Even when your wishes come true Andi desperately hopes her long lost half brother, Bernardo, will be as crazy about basketball as she is But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can t believe her eyes She hasn t seen him for ten year, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FEET TALL This eight foot tall boy is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet But Bernardo is not what he seems Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works m What you want is not always what you get Even when your wishes come true Andi desperately hopes her long lost half brother, Bernardo, will be as crazy about basketball as she is But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can t believe her eyes She hasn t seen him for ten year, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FEET TALL This eight foot tall boy is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet But Bernardo is not what he seems Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has amazing story to tell book s blurb I had high hopes for this little fat book and when I read this blurb which doesn t do the book justice , it had me thinking that it was going to be just another run of the mill culture shock story so I braced myself for a disappointment Then I began reading and it was a page turner The warm characters and sweet storyline had me charmed, laughing, cheering, and fighting back tears the ingredients for an unforgettable heartwarming tale.This was particularly meaningful to me because it gave a glimpse of Filipino culture, particularly regarding close knit family relationships, superstitions, and faith This was successfully conveyed by tackling with heart dichotomies such as need vs want, superstition vs science, real vs magic, and of course, short vs tall More importantly, the characters main and supporting themselves were dynamic I absolutely felt that I was walking in their shoes And in this case, I did similarly walk in Bernardo s just 16 sizes smaller I too am an immigrant and assimilated to a secondary home.I did notice a slight awkwardness confusing writing but the powerful charm of the story had me pardon that blemish Hence, this was a wonderful young reader book debut I d vote it for a Newbery Award or the like.Unfortunately, I m not a gifted writer so I didn t do this book much justice either but my friend Jzhun did so please check out his eloquent summary and review on his blog,Dark Chest of Wonders he didn t pay me to put this plug He s an incredibly apt writer and never ceases to amaze me So if you re serious about in depth reviews readers follow him and authors have him review your book Find this review andat Jinky is Reading Also Posted at my book blog Dark Chest of WondersA Giant Tale with a Giant Heart A Book Review of Candy Gourlay s Tall StoryRush hour So many armpits, so little deodorantsSo begins Tall Story, Candy Gourlay s fantastic debut novel about basketball, sibling love, cultural differences, legend and magic A poignant tale that warns us of the dangers of the things we wish for and that ultimately, size doesn t really matter.Andi is a basketball obsessed, 13 year old, half Filipino who wishes not Also Posted at my book blog Dark Chest of WondersA Giant Tale with a Giant Heart A Book Review of Candy Gourlay s Tall StoryRush hour So many armpits, so little deodorantsSo begins Tall Story, Candy Gourlay s fantastic debut novel about basketball, sibling love, cultural differences, legend and magic A poignant tale that warns us of the dangers of the things we wish for and that ultimately, size doesn t really matter.Andi is a basketball obsessed, 13 year old, half Filipino who wishes nothingthan to be her school team s point guard But the bad thing is she s the shortest in her class and London, where she lives, is a place that s not so crazy with shooting hoops Disheartened though she is with these nasty dilemmas, she remains persistent to get what she wants, despite things, as of the moment, are not really working well for her Still, a ray of hope remains to be looked forward to in a few days time her half brother from the other side of the world will finally arrive Oh, how she wishes that he s into basketball, too Years of waiting had lastly granted the Jones family s wish and that Andi will now have a big brother Then, on the big day a huge surprise caught the Jones off guard Bernardo is a giant, Andi says.After patiently waiting for years, Bernardo finally made it to England from the small town of San Andres in the Philippines his long time wish of being with his mother will at last come true But certain events seem to prevent this from happening For one, how can he explain his sudden growth of up to eight feet to his Mum That he can easily deal with What worries Bernardo no end is the time when he leaves San Andres, for the locals regard him as the modern day incarnation of Bernardo Carpio, a legendary hero said to protect them against deadly earthquakes that plagued the town since time immemorial With Nardo s imminent departure, villagers are once again afraid that violent tremors would once again strike Besides this, Nardo is also haunted by a tragic secret from the past and a mysterious illness that will slowly unravel upon his arrival in London.Candy Gourlay s voice is a refreshing breath of air, writing in an accessible, kid friendly, charming style peppered with comic wit The plot can be easily followed through alternating point of views of Nardo and Andi, and though the story often use backflashes in telling Nardo s life in the Philippines before his arrival in London, it effectively moves and enhances the unfolding narrative thread.I think one of the book s amazing feats is Gourlay s deft handling of dialogue, giving Andi and Nardo their distinct voices rendering them not only with a three dimensional feel with their individual quirks, but also earning the reader s sympathy as we come into terms with their individual struggles The language is spot on as Gourlay moves from Filipino to English and colorfully distinguishes Nardo s timid, introspection with Andi s slick, wisecracking observations.What s spectacular with Tall Story is its literary juggling act as it tackles topics that range from superstition and science, the real and the magical, tall and short, of the difference between things that we want and things that really matters most a hodgepodge that makes it a fitting whole More than being a heartwarming story, Tall Story also comments on such timely social and familial problems such as poverty and corruption, immigration and integration, cultural identity and differences, sibling relationship and the sacrifices that a family has to go through when one member is forced to work abroad.Just like Ilustrado , Tall Story once again confirmed my firm belief that Filipino fiction has indeed arrived on the global literary center stage that this book originally published by the renowned David Fickling Books DFB is enough validation alone I m equally thrilled how much stories out there are just waiting to be discovered Certainly, I ll be one of those who will eagerly await its coming Tall Story is a light and heartwarming novel for readers of all ages More than an educational and funny story of a brother and a sister, it doesn t only just give us a glimpse of what the Philippines is as a country, but also the potential it holds as a key player in international literature Truly, size doesn t really matter, eh._________________________Published by Cacho Publishing House Trade Paperback, Philippine Edition, 2010 233 PagesStarted September 2, 2010Finished September 4, 2010 With four children, all under the age of 10, spending the weekend here, this was the perfect kind of book for me to be reading if I wanted to get any reading done at all And, of course, I always do Besides enjoying this book very much, I learned new things about the Philippines, such as that the country loves basketball I had no idea and the legend of Bernardo Carpio, which I especially enjoyed, as I love folktales from other countries and noting the similarities and differences among t With four children, all under the age of 10, spending the weekend here, this was the perfect kind of book for me to be reading if I wanted to get any reading done at all And, of course, I always do Besides enjoying this book very much, I learned new things about the Philippines, such as that the country loves basketball I had no idea and the legend of Bernardo Carpio, which I especially enjoyed, as I love folktales from other countries and noting the similarities and differences among them Bernardo Carpio reminded me a little bit of our U.S tall tale figure, Paul Bunyan, though Carpio is muchlike the Greek mythological Atlas I liked how the author used Carpio like struggles as a metaphor for how Nardo felt when he was suffering his seizures The author also used, in a subtle way, Carpio s winning over the townspeople as a metaphor for the way Nardo won the little children over when he started his new school.Andi s Nardo s half sister voice and the dialogue of Nardo s best friend, Jabby, caused me to chuckle several times Though all the characters were real, I especially enjoyed those two.As the story gotserious, I was reminded of recent events in Japan I was also reminded of Japan when it was stated that high school basketball in the Philippines is a very big deal and televised, as I know the same is true in Japan with high school baseball As I read on, I felt the connection I made was an appropriate response, because though this book contrasts life in London with life in a barrio in the Philippines, what emerges at the end are what can make us all feel similar a child s want and need of the love of family I m so glad this book was passed onto me, it was very touching I am close to my family, especially my mom and brother and to read about a family like this was emotional, happy and sad I also learned a lot from this book, the mythology or folklore of other cultures can be very cool My first thought after reading this was to email my favorite anthropology teacher, who I took Cultural Anthropology from, and see if she d read this Maybe she d even want to teach this book with the other ones she I m so glad this book was passed onto me, it was very touching I am close to my family, especially my mom and brother and to read about a family like this was emotional, happy and sad I also learned a lot from this book, the mythology or folklore of other cultures can be very cool My first thought after reading this was to email my favorite anthropology teacher, who I took Cultural Anthropology from, and see if she d read this Maybe she d even want to teach this book with the other ones she has on the curriculum The characters were very likable too, you feel for them, all of them I related to Andi quite a bit, caring about your family, feeling bad when you act harshly or think about acting harshly toward things, and definitely being into things that are for boys In the end I felt like I had been there and that I could be happy because they were There was a time when I would be tanned so dark Sunblock was not in my vocabulary before because I d be playing basketball in open courts at noon My younger sister too, was sporting the same tan I m the point guard, she was shooting guard because she was taller by 2 inches But everyone who would come to watch a game would call us twins and if we correct them, they would readily point at my sister as the Senior and me as the Sopho That was in high school, we d be juggling academics with There was a time when I would be tanned so dark Sunblock was not in my vocabulary before because I d be playing basketball in open courts at noon My younger sister too, was sporting the same tan I m the point guard, she was shooting guard because she was taller by 2 inches But everyone who would come to watch a game would call us twins and if we correct them, they would readily point at my sister as the Senior and me as the Sopho That was in high school, we d be juggling academics with basketball and my mom cannot complain, we graduated with honors, she can t mistake us as jocks.I get Andi, sometimes I even think I was her I understand her drive to hold a ball and shoot some hoops I also understand her fashion, her short hair and her love for jersey shorts but most of all, I understand the need for her to prove to everyone that height does not matter in basketball but skills and alot of effort to perfect those jump shots Being tall has its advantage in basketball but having five giants with no skill inside the court will never win a game.Focusing on basketball and Andi s talent doesn t give right justice to Candy Gourlay s book Tall Story has the right amount of mysticism, drama, sibling love and bond of friendship that could transcend to everyone The spirit of being a Filipino is also very evident The were hints of bayanihan, of that subtle evidences of life in the barrio where no one can be truly lonely because no gate can keep your neighbor from sharing your lunch and vice versa Or that news, either good or bad would travel among peers and in no time, all of them would be by your door not just as a show of camaraderie but a stronger one Damayan, I believe it is called But life in towns like San Andres is also covered with such mysticism that thrives in folklore making science and technology seem part of a futuristic story In Auntie s words, I am a scientist who believes in tectonic plates to explain seismic conditions rather than unseen giants walking in the mountains I also believe in the inner workings of hormones as the reason for Bernardo s height rather than him as an incarnate of a giant I also believe that choices governs our fate, not predestined paths that hinders our rationale Hence, a wishing stone, no matter how tempting to use as an explanation could not bring forth causative decisions made by the two prime characters, Andi and Bernardo It was also their bond, the beginning and the strengthening of it that could keep any reader plastered in their seats to finish this story The presentation of the story as chapters to each of their thoughts amuses me It was a front row view on their insights You learn the joy in Bernardo s smile and comprehend Andi s smirk You feel Bernardo s qualms of being in a foreign land and sense the spirited replies of Andi because she wanted to prove her point And it was in this context that you find that they were not mere strangers to each other s life because distance cannot break the unspoken bond between siblings.Tall story is not about height matters but it is about standing tall against all odds just to be with the most essential persons in one s life, the family No amount of curse, mythical gods, penalty shots, technical fouls or even distance can stand in between This is the concept that is not difficult to believe in This is one of the sweetest and most refreshing books I ve read this year It is a very sweet story, extremely well written and deeply enjoyable Actually, you want to know a funny story My roomie is from the Philippines and wait for it is a nurse Exactly like the mother of Andi and Bernardo And I laughed so much when Andi transcribes what she thinks is Tagalog, because that s exactly what I hear when my roomie talks to her family there Sorry, I m in a boring anecdote mode today This is a This is one of the sweetest and most refreshing books I ve read this year It is a very sweet story, extremely well written and deeply enjoyable Actually, you want to know a funny story My roomie is from the Philippines and wait for it is a nurse Exactly like the mother of Andi and Bernardo And I laughed so much when Andi transcribes what she thinks is Tagalog, because that s exactly what I hear when my roomie talks to her family there Sorry, I m in a boring anecdote mode today This is a very sweet and touching story about a family finally coming together and getting to know each other after so many years apart Andi and Bernardo s mother is a Filipino nurse who went to work in the UK, leaving her first son behind, thinking she could make him come after But the immigration laws are such that Bernardo hasn t been granted the right to go to the UK, and he spent his childhood in San Andres with his Aunt and Uncle Andi is his half sister that he met only once The story starts when Bernardo has finally the right to go to the UK and live with his family It is told from the point of view of Andi and Bernardo and we learn from their history and how they became the persons they are today Andi Amandolina is a boyish basketball fan and Bernardo is a 8ft tall teenager who is believed to be the new incarnation of Giant spirit Bernardo Carpio who saved the village of San Andres from a catastrophe.The characters were all very well described and very original and unique I profoundly love both Andi and Bernardo, and the relation they have with each other I like how Bernardo wants to act like a big brother to his sister and how tough little Andi is a kickass basketball player.I loved the family spirit that come out of the story in general It is such a beautiful book And I found all the stories and traditions from Philippines very interesting There are also some serious issues developed in the plot, about working immigrants in the UK not being able to bring their children in the country or how nobody really cares about earthquakes on the other side of the world I found this paragraph very spot on And the weird thing was, everybody probably knew about it Everybody had glanced at the newspaper headlines or heard the radio in passing or glimpsed something as they changed channels on the TV Hundreds of Casualties in Massive Philippine Earthquake But hundreds are not people, are they And blank faces on TV are not people either p.249Anyways, this is a very touching and down to earth story about a family, about making choices and having to live with the consequences You will laugh out loud at some of the moments and cry your heart out in others And as everyone in the book falls for Bernardo, you will fall for this unique and original story So many armpits, So little deodorant.If you are looking for a short fun read, read this novel Will give an elaborate verdict later