Skip to main content

"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on August 6, 2009.

A Filipino YA novel in English


"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women (Cacho Publishing House, 2007) introduces readers to finding a mother's wisdom in a grain of rice, the parallel between human relationships and magnets, and Bell, her mother, and her sister Cory.

This book made me happy. Not because it's a bright and cheery novel - in fact it has its funny moments but is mostly a serious novel. But because good books make me happy, and this is definitely a solidly good book.

I have heard once that children love their parents and then love them again as adults. "I Hate My Mother!" is about that time in between, when teenagers "hate" their parents. Written in that unique way Filipino teenagers use English, and generously peppered with Filipino words and phrases, "I Hate My Mother!" traces the transformation of Bell's awe of her mother's wisdom as a little girl to her bewilderment, annoyance, and frustration with her mother as a teenager.

But as the years went by, it only became harder for me to understand anything Mommy would say. Even in my most patient moments, no beam of light would shine on me or on Mommy's words. Parang* I was losing all capacity for understanding.

But then again, more and more, I would come to believe it was my Mom who was losing all her wisdom.

...

Kasi** while I was getting wiser, Mommy was getting dumber. Like she was losing the wisdom Dad always talked about when I was a little girl. And she was losing it fast.


In this novel, Perpilili Vivienne Tiongson gives readers an almost pitch perfect portrayal of the INEXPLICABLE rage many teenage girls feel towards their mother.

I just wanted to feel nothing. For once, to feel like nothing's the matter with my Mom. To just watch her walk across the hall, or even into our room, without having to avoid her, without having to pretend that I was too busy to talk to her or pretend I had not noticed her at all. To not cringe at the way she chewed her food when we sat at the dining table. To not shudder at the slightest touch of her hand on my back. To not ice over at the words "I love you."

There is no clear, neat, happy ending for this novel. No resolution between mother and daughter. But the ending does satisfy in that there is hope. And as one cannot help but get emotionally involved with the story, the ending is also satisfying because it gives readers plenty of room to work out their own thoughts and feelings.

Needless to say, I recommend this book!


Loose English translations of the words in Filipino:
*It was as if...
**Because...

[I bought my own copy of "I Hate My Mother!".]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017)

"My name is Alex Petroski and my house is in Rockview, Colorado, United States of America, planet Earth. I am eleven years and eight months old . . ."
Filipino American Alex Petroski LOVES astronomy. His hero is Carl Sagan, the astronomer who sent a "Golden Record" out into space. In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. In case the spacecraft ever made contact with extraterrestrial life forms, or future humans, each had on board a "Golden Record," a copper phonograph LP featuring a collection of sounds and images meant to portray the life and culture on planet Earth. The recorded sounds included things like wind, thunder, bird songs, greetings in 55 languages, and the brainwaves of a woman in love. (You can actually listen to the audio of the Golden Record here.)
Alex has built his very own rocket, Voyager 3, and plans to launch it into space at SHARF (Southwest High-Altitude…

Author Interview: Jack Cheng

I still haven't gotten over See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng(Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017). So after I reviewed the book here and cooked up some classroom and book club activities for it, I just had to grill Jack about his influences and creative process. Read our interview below! 


Hi, Jack! What motivates and inspires you to write for young readers?

Getting to meet kids (both in school and through my books) who are at a time in their life when they're really starting to form their values. It's a time when they're really starting to ask the big questions about life and the people around them—the same big questions that we keep asking, I think, even when we grow into adults.
I was excited when I saw that the main character of See You in the Cosmos, Alex Petroski, was Filipino American. Is there a particular reason you made Alex Filipino American?
To be honest, I thought about making Alex Chinese American but I felt like it would've been a different novel. I wou…

Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino (I Am A Good Filipino) by Noel Cabangon and Jomike Tejido

This one is a real crowd pleaser: Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino, Lampara Books' 2012 picture book adaptation of Noel Cabangon's song, with Cabangon's original Filipino lyrics, functional English translations by Becky Bravo, and illustrations by Jomike Tejido!

Cabangon's inspiring lyrics remind children of the ways they can be good Filipinos, such as doing their best in school and obeying their parents. There are plenty of reminders for adults too, such as following traffic rules and not selling their votes during elections. Tejido's illustrations are warm and wholesome, acrylic paintings on hand-woven mats that depict different ways to be good citizens.   


You just can't go wrong with Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino! Children and adults will understand and appreciate the lyrics and paintings. The chords of the song are provided, so music lovers can play and sing along. There are notes and guide questions for educators. There is even a treat for book…