Honey, St Helen and St Katharine
Samkad is desperate to become a man. But when his time finally comes, matters that stretch far beyond his world collide with his plans.
The book begins by introducing the reader to Samkad’s life. He is part of a tribe whose daily lives are built on and structured around traditional beliefs. They rely on spiritual help and support from their ancestors, making offerings to them at the sacred Tree of Bones. Although at first these traditions seem nonsensical and even stand in the way of Samkad’s dreams, once they are threatened the reader feels something sacred and valuable is lost.
The author uses a fictional character to explore the impact of what happened when the Americans discovered the Philippines. I thought Samkad was a believable character and he gave you a sense of what life was like on Bontok. Samkad is the only one in his village who is suspicious of the Americans, he doesn’t trust their motives and he isn’t fooled by their gifts. Samkad shares these suspicions and his feelings through the first person, a suitable perspective that draws you into his story.
The relationship Samkad has with his father changes constantly. He looks up to his father although he can still be quite angry with him but when his father has to carry the Americans across the river, it changes things for Samkad. He is forced to watch his mighty father be degraded and used for such a lowly task. Samkad’s tale is not only a rites of passage story, examining his journey to manhood and his changing relationships with his father and best friend Luki, it is also so much more than that as his whole world is being destroyed and a new one is on the horizon.
Overall, I would give the book an 8/10 because the story was tense and exciting and I was captivated by the life of the islanders.
Posted on: 4th June 2019 at 08:48 am
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