Always Hiding: A Novel
(3 customer reviews)
My birth should have been an auspicious occasion for my parents because I was their first child. But I was born a girl and in the Philippines that made all the difference," writes Maria Violetta Rosario Dananay, the narrator of this story. Her life was at first a happy one, beloved by both father and mother. But when her father eloped with his latest flame, who was pregnant by him, the world turned sour. Her mother, unable to face the disgrace, fled to New York and became an illegal alien. Virtually deserted by her father, she lived as dangerously as she could until her father, who was in serious political trouble, sent her to her mother in New York. There she encountered an entirely new set of problems and courageously set out to conquer them. Always Hiding is a new and fascinating view of modern Filipino life.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #4029106 in Books
- Published on:
- Released on:
- Original language: English
- Dimensions: 9.00" h x 5.75" w x 1.00" l,
- Binding: Hardcover
- 272 pages
From Publishers Weekly
Growing up in Manila's materialistic, status-conscious upper class under the Marcos regime, caught between her warring parents, narrator Viola Decanay feels morally rudderless, ashamed of her flat, non-European nose and disdainful of her social inferiors. Despite various connections between Viola's life and the fall of the Marcos administration, and obvious parallels between the tensions that destroy her family and the tensions that divided the Philippines, debut author Romero doesn't fully exploit her plot's potential resonances. The Marcoses' overthrow appears only briefly, as backdrop to Viola's shallow self-dramatizations. What's more, Viola never seems to grow up. When her father is charged with complicity with the corrupt Marcos regime, he sends Viola to her mother, who has fled her husband's indiscretions and made a life for herself in America as an undocumented maid. Blind to her mother's new resourcefulness and independence, Viola finds her life despicable and embarrassing; when Viola's example persuades her mother to rudely reject the "insulting" kindness of an employer, Romero clearly treats this petty vanity as a triumph. Smoothly but predictably written, with blatant symbolism, this first novel does little to reveal the Filipino-American experience or dignify its unsympathetic heroine.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Narrator Viola Dananay was conceived before her parents' wedlock, but the union was not enough to stop her father's philandering ways. When he leaves his family for a pregnant mistress, Viola's mother, Ludy, flees to America in shame, leaving behind her daughter and status as a wealthy Manila socialite to live as an illegal alien in New York City. Viola's father, who has serious political problems, eventually sends her to live with her mother in New York, not knowing that Viola's secret agenda is to return to Manila with her mother in tow. Romero brings a sparkling humor and fresh perspective to her remarkable first novel about family, love, honor, and modern Filipino life in both the Philippines and the United States, revealing an unusual ability to portray dangerous situations in a way that leaves us feeling her characters' strength rather than their fear. Recommended for most collections.?Carolyn Ellis Gonzalez, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"TNT" is the Filipino nickname for an illegal alien in the U.S.: it stands for the Tagalog words for "always hiding." Teenage Viola's life, always self-centered and fragile, is shattered when her father moves in with his pregnant mistress and her mother flees Manila for New York and the traditional hope of a new life there. Viola is the center of this novel, however, focused on her own feelings of recklessness and abandonment, often couched in stolen American phrases and cemented in the firmament of Filipino class values. Abrupt changes of direction in plot and dialogue mirror Viola's tumultuous feelings, although she remains emotionally closed to the reader almost until her final reconciliation with her mother. Less tied to books like Nancy Kricorian's Zabelle (see review p.777) and Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) and more to the "let's get back at mom and dad" genre. GraceAnne A. DeCandido
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Captured the Filipino mindset
By A Customer
I enjoyed this short book which I finished in one sitting. It's hard to put down once you get started. It must be because I can identify very much to what was described in her book. When I said it captured the Filipino mindset, I am referring to the main theme of the book which is the rampant womanizing of Viola's dad. The book also gave me a lot of insight as to how an undocumented alien probably lives in the United States, especially those who are fairly well educated back in their homeland. I recommend this book. I hope that there will be more books written by her in the future.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
the author's wit reminds me of amy tan's humor, its full of sarcasm and dark, but yet right on target. i must say that miss romero was able to deliver a believable life story of a 'TNT'. i have heard many stories; a well to do attorney ends up as a factory worker, a doctor ends up as a cashier at a gas station, a government offical ends up as a mailman.....so many people willing to give up what they have just to start a new life and get a piece of this american pie. but eventually we realize, is it all worth it? this book has the answer.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Magnificent. Wonderful. "Bonding" instantaneously.
By A Customer
I got bonded to author right away. I found the right book to read at the right time. Well written. I can identify with Viola. a real treat. Lois Ann Yamanaka of Hawaii is like Sophia. Author should receive similar award - best Asian woman writer. Mabuhay!