Title: Patron Saints of Nothing
Author: Randy Ribay
Pages: 319 pages
A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.
Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.
Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.
As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.
Thank you Kokila and PRH International for sending me an ARC in exchange of a review. With this, all the thoughts and opinion you will read are on my own.
Narrated in a single perspective, Patron Saints of Nothing is a timely relevant and eye opener about the beauty and ugly part of the Philippines. The story is about Jason, a Filipino-American who decided to travel to Philippines to find out about his cousin Jun’s death.
The first time that I stumble about the book on twitter I already knew that I will love it. And I was right, not just because I’m also Filipino same with the author and the protagonist but it is a book that will surely leave a significant mark on you.
Ribay wrote the plot in a manner that readers will surely grasp and devour what is happening in the story. It is in a way also where reader cannot predict what will happen next. Some topics that where discuss in the story are well research especially with the drugs. With regards of the other topic, the readers can easily understand it as Ribay wrote it perfectly.
The characters are well played wherein you will surely love and hate some of them. Despite Maning’s attitude towards Jay when they are touring around Manila, I came to the thinking that Maning in that scene is like a tour guide. A tour guide where he shows not only Jay but also the reader the rich history and culture of Philippines. It is where readers who are not Filipino be taught and persuaded to learn the beauty of Filipino history and culture. Mia’s relationship to Jay is one of the kind where it is not forced. It also show the trait of a Pinoy who help someone even if you just met the person and you really don’t know him/her.
It is overwhelming that some of the parts of the story shows the tradition, culture and traits of every Filipino. You can also read some Tagalog words in the story like “Mano Po” where Pinoy are accustomed to do when meeting elderly people for their blessings and respect. The word “Po” is also introduced where in every Filipino used it after a sentence or part of the sentence as a sign of respect to the person you are talking to.
Regardless with the topic of drugs in the story, you can not deny that the Philippines have a positive side in every negative. You can see that not all people who are well fed and rich enough have the tendency to be successful or the one who will do good things. They are some things that we surely cannot foresee and prevent with. But I surely know that with a proper guidance, love, and support that we can get not just from our parents, siblings, relatives and friends can have a large impact on how we saw and do things in our lives.
With everything that happens in the story. I ask myself. I’m I a good citizen? I’m a Filipino enough? Do I really know our history? Is it enough that just because I live in my own country and speak the native language is utterly enough to say that I have done great and contributed well.
Patron Saints of Nothing is really an eye-opener for everyone to reconsider and do something relevant and good that will improve bot just yourself but the world you are walking.
So what are you waiting for, “GISING NA, PH”
5 OUT OF 5 STARS. I TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT.