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Baby Jesus Pawn Shop Hardcover – November 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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For years the atrocities committed by the Marcos regime in the name of "democracy"have been "excused" by the Reagan administration because of the need to maintain US bases in the Philippines during the Cold War. As the novel opens, in June 1982, Ferdinand Marcos has been in power since his democratic election in 1965. For the past ten years, however, he has been a dictator, with an ambitious wife and a ruthless military which profits financially from keeping Marcos in power. The needs of the populace, most of whom are living in poverty, are disregarded. In the meantime, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, a potential rival for President, is living in exile in Boston after enduring seven years of solitary confinement in one of Marcos's "re-education" camps.
Orth creates a vivid picture of Filipino life by focusing, in part, on the lives of the Caldwells and their servants--Celia, the cook, and Doming Aguinaldo, the chauffeur, an educated young man who had been planning to enter the seminary when circumstances demanded that he help his family financially instead.Read more ›
Baby Jesus is an exceptional story about a group of people living through the repressive and corrupt Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Philippines, a regime supported by the U.S. government's interests in the resources of the island. What sustains the central characters are their memories, visions, and great love of a Philippines worth dying for.
Doming Aquinaldo, who was forced to give up his university studies after his father's murder by the Marcos regime, is a driver for Trace and Rue Caldwell, a couple from the U.S. As Rue awakens to the reality of her husband's support for the oppressive Marcos government, Doming finds himself drawn in to an attempt to overthrow the Marcos regime in order to pave the way for the return of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino and his promise of a liberated Philippines. Other characters in the novel, including a reporter, a maid, and the owner of the Baby Jesus pawn shop, also depict these circumstances with a well-written realism.
The result is a suspenseful chain of events which are both heartbreaking in their portrayals of cooperation with government brutality and shining with instances of extraordinary bravery. Baby Jesus Pawn Shop is a superb and finely-crafted novel, authentically told, and reminiscent of the international politics and ordinary lives depicted in such films as Syriana, Traffic, and Men with Guns.
It is a world in which no one can be trusted, including representatives of the U.S. government stationed in the Philippines. Marcos wants to stay in power and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. The U.S. government fears losing access to the military bases it maintains in the Philippines and appreciates the relative stability of the brutal Marcos regime. Those who want to overthrow Marcos and his henchmen fear the spies who seem to be everywhere.
Into this tense and volatile world comes Rue Caldwell, a woman whose husband represents the United States in its dark dealings with Marcos and his generals. Rue may be a naïve woman when she arrives in Manila but she is nobody's fool. She is a compassionate woman and she tends to identify with the people who cook, clean, and drive for her, a quality that exposes their world to her in all of its precarious ugliness.
The blinders finally come off Rue's eyes for good when she comes to know her driver, Doming, a man who, some years before, had been forced to flee his native village after making a symbolic attempt to avenge the government's murder of his father.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What an authentic tale of desperation, life and love in Philippines in the 80s. I couldn't stop reading. Excellent writing. Very evocative and suspenseful.Published on December 10, 2013 by KU Jayhawk
This is one of those books that I start reading slower at the end because I don't want it to end. It is an evocative story of (hard) life in the Philippines, well-written.Published on October 30, 2012 by BH Book Lover
Set in Manila amidst all the political unrest and with actual events in the 70s and 80s is a work of fiction. Well drawn, good tension, and believable characters. Read morePublished on July 22, 2012 by Nancy Rossman
I reviewed a draft of the beginning of Baby Jesus Pawn Shop at Squaw Valley Writers Workshop years ago, where our workshop group gave Lucia a standing ovation when she read her... Read morePublished on October 5, 2011 by Victoria Mixon
"Baby Jesus Pawn Shop" is set in the Philippines in the 1980s, during the brutal dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Read morePublished on May 23, 2009 by Live2Cruise