Plot in a Nutshell:
Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of fashion school in the Philippines. But on the brink of fame and fortune, there comes instead a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic is swept to America’s most notorious prison, administered a Qur’an and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot.
-Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Thoughts in General:
From The Memoirs of Non-Enemy Combatant (what a very long and complicated title for a book) really exemplifies the measures we take to achieve fame, fortune and glamor and the consequences we might face along the way. A great book from a very promising author and lucky I was to see him in person!
Thoughts in Details:
During my very first visit to the Manila International Book Fair (Year 2012), I was prepared to meet a guy I didn’t even know. What do I mean you ask? Well I came to the fair purely to get an autographed book from an author I barely knew about. At first I felt that I was like cheating myself because I haven’t even read the book and I’m already getting it signed. The fear that I might end up hating the book devoured me whole.
“I got it signed, anyways so if ever I hated the book I would just think about the exhilarating meet-and-greet with the author Alex Gilvarry” I justified as soon as I got the signed book. After I finished the book I immediately thank God for going through with it because I have to say (without being biased and all) I liked the book! It was melancholic (in a good way), humorously dark and a very endearing page turner. This book was far from the things I usually read (Fantasy, Supernatural-Thrillers, Chick Lit) so I did not had that much expectations but nonetheless the book was good.
“A very far-fetched plot”, this was my initial reaction when I read this over the Internet. A Filipino fashion designer goes terrorist in the US? Say what?
After reading it I found out that it was actually a satirical look into what it means to have the so-called “American Dream”. I related to the book’s main character Boyet “Boy” Hernandez’s dream of making it big in America, his yearning to have his collection be featured in New York Fashion Week and the tribulations he suffered when he was wrongly accused.
The writing of the novel was straight-to-the-point which is very ideal with this kind of story. Alex Gilvarry used the points of view of Boy and Gil Johannessen (a fashion writer turned investigative journalist) which made it feel like it was a real memoir.
The author also did a good job in descriptions. This particular passage really spooked the heck out of me whilst reading it before going to bed:
“He spent his first two days at Camp No in complete isolation and saw no one. At night, he was kept awake by the screams of other prisoners. Often it sounded as if men were being severely tortured; other times it sounded like a woman being raped and beaten. These were simulations intended to break prisoners.”
I give this awkwardly long titled book a…
Thumbs Up! The far-fetched plot and the extremely stylish backdrop provided by this book really did excite my fancy!
What are your thoughts regarding this book? Will you pick it up? Please do share your thoughts down on the comments section!
Here is a funny trailer of the book:
Viking Books (Youtube Channel)