324 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO
December's meetup has been moved to Tuesday!
Our selection this month will be Stacy's choice of Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn (Philippines).
Is it enough to have that visceral, barely articulate response to a book? Is it enough to say, “it blew my mind,” or “it changed my life,” and have that be it? I bring this up now, because as I am currently revisiting the text, I remember now what my initial responses were to the book. It did indeed blow my mind. I couldn’t exactly tell you then why it blew my mind, but that it just did. Even when studying the book, I can tell you there is plenty that I missed back then, on account of simply not being intellectually and/or artistically mature enough to access it. Scholars have called it “postmodern,” and I’ve accepted that labeling. Perhaps that’s why I classified it in my mental files as “difficult,” and moved on, content to have had it blow my mind.
So as I am revisiting the text, preparing to present it to a new group of undergrads, one thing I’ve decided to do is a very close reading of a few of the introductory chapters. I know now why the book blew my mind; apart from the fact that Dogeaters was the first ever Filipino American authored text I ever read, I see now how much is condensed into few pages, about class, wealth, mestizaje, popular culture, gender, colonialism. In my opinion, it’s very well-crafted work. The characters are so idiosyncratic, and there are some ugly human beings here. The narrative is being pieced together and then unfolding in a way that could be thought of as unconventional. I’m not too sure yet exactly why it’s so “difficult” — why I and so many others have deemed it as such — I just know that as I bring this text to my undergrads, I want to be able to unpack it, confirm that we are capable of reading what is deemed a “difficult” text, and make this reading of it worthwhile and meaningful.
From Barbara Jane Reyes.