Wednesday 10 December 2014

Gotita de Dragon - Book Review

Gotita de Dragon and Other Stories
by Nick Joaquín and illustrations by Beth Parrocha

What is it about:
Here, in this collection of five short stories for both young and old, the great master uses both his whimsy and his sense of the gothic to re-imagine Philippine folktales.

The stories:
- "Lechonito the Holy Innocent"
- "The Mystery Sleeper of Balite Drive"
- "The Traveling Salesman and the Split Woman"
- "Balikbayan"
- "Gotita de Dragon"

What did I think of it:
Overall this is a beautiful collection of stories, but I will give my thoughts about each of them.

Lechonito the Holy Innocent
This is a Christmas story about self sacrifice.
It features a pig, so you can understand I very much enjoyed this story.
The one point of critique I have on this story, is that it seems to promote self sacrifice for the sake of self sacrifice, instead of letting the self sacrifice actually have meaning. But that might be my inner cynic speaking up.

The Mystery Sleeper of Balite Drive
This is a modern retelling of Snow White.
I thought it was really well written, and had some original spins on the original fairytale.

The Traveling Salesman and the Split Woman
Another retelling of a fairytale.
It had some elements I wasn't familiar with, and some that are used in several of the fairytales I know. I must say it intrigues me how universal some story elements are. It was interesting to compare this story to the stories I know.

A boy talks about there being another room inside his room, and his mother tries to figure out where this fantasy comes from.
This is a really suspenseful and creepy story.

Gotita de Dragon
A story about a tiny lizard wanting to become a dragon.
This is a fun story, and I very much enjoyed the lizard's attempts at doing good deeds, so his wish will be granted.

All in all I very much enjoyed this book and it makes me want to find out more about Philippine folktales, and their connection to European tales. I can advice this book to anyone who likes folktales and fairytales.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful collection of short stories.

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