It took me a while to open the pages of The Mango Bride and I have had the book for a long time. First, the thing that draw me to pick up the book from the shelf is the yellow cover and the title itself. In contradictory to the saying “Don’t judge the book by its cover,” whenever I look on an attractive cover, it gives an impression of what its content. Little did I know, though, there’s more to the promising yellow cover and inviting title.
The Mango Bride tells a story of two Filipina woman, Amparo and Beverly. Amparo is from the Guerrerro family, de Buena familia or well-off family, in Manila. Exiled by her parents to America, she sought happiness and a better life in a foreign land. It became apparent to her, as an interpreter, the struggles of Filipina women who chose to live the American Life than what they can have in the Philippines.
Beverly, named after the famous Beverly Hills, is from an impoverish family. After the tragic death of Clara, her mother, Marcela took ownership of caring for Beverly. She is a reserved and persistent woman which later changed as the circumstances necessitate. Even after her mother’s sudden demise, she held to the promise of a better life.
Also, there’s Marcela, she is the family cook of the Guerreros. When Senora Concha couldn’t be bothered with motherhood, she was compelled to be the Guerrero children’s mother. Being the long-standing servant in the family, she managed to support Beverly.
In terms of the dialogue, Marivi Soliven is able to show the personality of the characters. I could really imagine the reaction of their faces and their relationship to each other. On the first chapter, I could recall Esther, one of the maids, lowered her eyes when asked where was Marcela.
Humanity and kindness overflow the pages of this book mixed with envy and secrecy. Combining all of these is vital in the development of the characters. The poor life in Manila made Beverly look for a greener pasture, while a juvenile mistake left Amparo no choice to look for happiness somewhere else where no one cares about your last name.
Above all, responsibility and motherhood abound the pages littered with the ugliness of life. No matter where we are in the social stratification: rich or poor, we are still human and should be accountable on the decisions that we make, as it entails consequences.
I can reassure to you that you’ll keep on turning the pages of this book. I even shed tears on the climax—just like in Jenifer Niven’s book. Marivi Soliven makes you care to lives of the expatriate Filipinos. If this book touches my heart, it will definitely touch yours. Hence, I definitely recommend this book.