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It was lovely and so are the kittens. This seemingly simple conversation about love between two different generations and people with vastly different experiences is a moment of connection. Evelina ends this section with a chapter reflecting on her time in Macabebe visiting her uncle and the graves of her grandparents. Her craft of placement, whether it be the stories after one another or where she shows herself, seems most detailed.

What does it mean to have this chapter the last in the book? The first is, as others have already mentioned, how rooted in place this book was, and the second is the intentional use and explanations or lack thereof of the Filipino language and its different dialects. Some cannot be translated. The lyricism used to describe Lola Christita speaking Visayan is an excellent example of this. Here the words shatter the calm. She does not stop.

I was amazed by the way Galang used another language, one that it is very likely her reader has never heard before, so masterfully throughout this book. I think this is because Galang knew when to explain and when to let it be. Patay ka! The interminable sound of rape. Of sex without consent. Okay to have sex with you?

And then the pause, the space between the command where her imagined response would fall. And then an snwer to her silence— if not patay ka. While I admit I looked up some of these other words out of sheer curiosity, I never felt like I had to do so for fear of not understanding what I was reading. What really stood out to me about the use of these phrases was that Galang thought they were so important that she made them the section titles for the book; these phrases were so powerful that she organized the entire book based on them.

Now you are a carefree girl.

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  5. You say prayers. You eat sweets. You have a family who loves you and calls you fat. Then you are Tira ng Hapones. Japanese Leftovers. Within the first paragraph, we are introduced to Galang, the group of dalagas with her, and the Philippines itself, and then she continues to delve deeper into place while slowly revealing the reason she is there and the reason that we are reading this book: the history, the truth of the Lolas. I felt that it was important to lay this foundation for the reader before jumping right into talking about the tough stuff, the abuses.

    By being connected to the place, I think the reader is able to materialize the jarring and surreal stories of the Lolas in the real world more easily. In order to truly understand what it was like for Galang and the Lolas to return to these cities, homes, schools, etc.

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    Following this, is a photograph of Galang and Lola Christita in front of the hut, bringing the imagery full circle by allowing us to see just how accurately she had portrayed the place through words. Really, Lola? Perhaps your body was so damaged there was no feeling left. Maybe there was nothing left but habit. And so sex came easy for you.

    One husband could replace another. One friend in exchange for another. Hi Kasi, I did somewhat struggle with the intentional use and explanations of the Filipino dialect in the book. Over-all I did enjoy the book but I must admit it was very different than our other assignments. This book was heavy and I truly felt for each of these women…. My spirit was weighed upon. Excellent, insightful commentary about her use of non-English phrases and words.

    Your notes about further craft issues at the end are also important and will provide a nice beginning for some discussions about structure. Evlina Galang was extremely different than our other readings for this class. It was an adjustment and shift of writing style because of the book taking on the historical account of 16 different perspectives of Filipino comfort women in which crimes occurred during war rather than one story focus.

    For me, it was extremely hard to view this as one book rather than sixteen diverse stories.

    The cover was beautifully done. The black cover backdrop was daringly bold. The choice of black was anything but absent because of these women allowing their faces to be showcased and for their brave images bringing such light to this dim situation. The cover also gave us a collage snippet of bruised women who were brave enough to allow themselves to forever be attached to a corrupt history. As a visual learner I could appreciate that and I immediately attached to every-one of those weighted faces.

    Two sentences pg. I carry with me the posture of the teacher.

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    The author also did a fantastic job in accurately gathering the victims accounts by focusing the attention on listening, empathizing and being impartial when writing their personal stories. The lolas and Galang come across very strong in first person and in placement of the space from where the story is being told. Here are a few examples that stood out for me: Virginia Villarma accounts-Five Japanese soldiers caught her. She struggled. They held her hands.

    Pulled her hair. Jabbed her back with bayonets and hauled her onto the jeep like a pig bound for market. She further stated that the soldiers made her wash their clothes and clean their sleeping quarters. Cristita Alcober accounts: Once her and her brother were separated she never saw him again. Atanacia Cortez accounts: For seven months the Japanese kept her in a room above a dungeon with Filipinos and American prisoners, while raping her daily and leaving her in the same soiled clothing.

    The book was well researched but I must admit it was extremely weighty because of the endured assaults, suffering, depression, tortures and rape on these victims.

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    This statement is so profound to me as a woman because when I reflect on these women and their horrific stories I see the resilience in me. Questions: I have no questions but rather a comment. I am hurt beyond measure, moved and speechless at what it must have been like for these restricted victims to have been used as mere female domesticated servants for hard core labor.

    Renee, You do a good job of articulating why these stories resonated for you. Try to think of some questions you can ask Evelina on Thursday. I can imagine one such question, given your own personal response, might be to ask how she managed to separate herself from these stories enough to write them, or if it was the fact that the stories entered her body that allowed her to complete this project.

    Lola’s House, by M. Evelina Galang***-**** | Seattle Book Mama

    That balance between engagement and objectivity that is necessary for a writer. Thank you Dr. Germain for giving me something to think about in terms of questions that I could ask of her. Episode Guide.