By Dr. Pol Tiongson
San Jose, CA
Editor’s Note: The best and humbling thing that could happen to a writer is to be reviewed and endorsed by another writer. And when I woke up to Dr. Pol Tiongson’s book review of Biting the Big Apple: Memoirs of a Journalist Turned Immigrant (2012) a few days ago, I was grinning from ear to ear. A very good friend since our college days, Dr. Tiongson specializes exclusively in cosmetic dermatology since 1999 and has offices in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He is a writer by heart, a voracious reader and keen political observer.
Just finished reading Marivir Montebon’s 150-page memoir. If I had overflowing liquid resources, I would without a second thought bankroll its adaptation into a movie or teleseries not because we’re friends but because, simply put, it’s an epic saga or a sagacious epic well told (take your pick after you’ve read it). Marivir is not just some Facebook friend, she’s a friend-I-can -share-a-room-with-and-still-sleep-like-a-baby friend. .
My only disappointment with her book is there is no mention of my name or hint of me in any of the pages–from the dedication to the afterword. I’m not not kidding.
We all have our dramas to deal with so reading cover to cover other’s life story is no easy task. Except for Marivir’s and late Alex Tizon’s memoirs, others’ are an ordeal to read, in my experience. I donated my copy of Bill Clinton’s “My Life” before I could even read half of it. Good thing I’ve read past the part where he said that he doubts we’ve landed on the moon. Welcome to the club of moon landing doubters, President Clinton. Sorry Obama, your memoir “Dreams from My Father” was so hypnotic to listen to, I nodded off then dreamt.
Writing gurus say that in this day and age when access to social media, the web and the idiot box is at everyone’s fingertips, for a book to sell, it must be a page-turner through and through. Unless the author is really creative, memoirs and autobiographical works are mostly a bore, unable to grab and keep today’s average reader’s attention, the span of which is short and getting shorter still.
Marivir Montebon’s “Biting the Big Apple” has evidently succeeded where many failed.
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