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Albert Samaha

Started Reading
Aug 28, 2022
Finished Reading
Sep 21, 2022

I thought this would be a memoir narrowly centered on Albert Samaha’s family experience as part of the Filipino diaspora in the United States. It turned out to be broader in scope: part high-level history of the Philippines, part rumination on the United States’ particular brand of white supremacy and colonialism. Samaha charts the rise and fall of his families’ aspirations and dreams against the rising neoliberalism and authoritarianism in the USA, forcing a repeated reckoning whether being here is worth the heartache and struggle.

Mostly, though, it made me miss the Philippines. Part of Samaha’s family is from Butuan, my mother’s hometown. I haven’t visited the Philippines in almost 25 years, a stretch that boggles my mind. Will I even recognize things when I return, something I hope to do with my family in the next couple of years? How will I feel as a stranger in a place I used to call home? I’m both curious and afraid to find out.