7 Books By Filipino Women Writers [Phili’s Book Club]
Because March is Women’s Month, we’re celebrating by giving you a list of local books by Filipino women writers. With a list that includes everything from light chick-lit to hard-edged noir to hilarious coming-of-age memoir, these books are proof that Filipina writers are as diverse as they are talented.
Turn on your reading light, get under the covers, and get cozy with these books this women’s month:
1Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
This romance/adventure novel follows the protagonist, Shelley, who pursues her husband Max around the world. The story seems simple enough—except Max has been dead for three years, or so she believed, until a look-a-like claiming to be his grandson comes knocking on her door. It’s a love story in the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife, with the old-world charm of Europe’s cities as its backdrop.
2It’s a Mens World by Bebang Siy
Equal parts funny and poignant, this coming-of-age memoir starts at the point when the author gets her first period (hence, the title). As one of the few Filipino women writers who use Tagalog, Bebang Siy gives us 20 candid essays that are as thought-provoking as they are easy to read. Based on the title alone, the feminist POV is not lost on the book’s readers. Still, its politics do not water down the wit and humor that make this book relatable even to a male audience.
3Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol
A novel set in Marcos-era Philippines, Gun Dealer’s Daughter tells the story of a sheltered rich teenager who joins the communist rebellion—and falls in love with a comrade. For sure, many novels talk about this dark period in our history. However, this one stands out for its retrospective narrative and its compelling main character.
4Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H Batacan
We’ve been putting this book on our must-read lists since forever. With a film version soon to premiere, it’s about time you picked it up if you haven’t already. The crime novel tells of two Jesuit priests investigating on a serial killer targeting young boys. The thrilling tale is sure to leave you flipping the pages non-stop till you get to the very end.
5The Mango Bride by Marivi Soliven
Immigration and the diaspora are prominent themes among Filipino women writers, and it holds true for this novel. It tells the story of two Filipinas from very different backgrounds who forge a new life in the United States. The two women come together by a twist of fate. A series of events then unfolds, only to come to a head with an important revelation. Capturing experiences of immigrants with striking verisimilitude, this novel is not only engaging but relevant.
6The Breakup Diaries by Maya O. Calica
Definitely the kind of book you’ll gobble up in one sitting, The Breakup Diaries is chick-lit, Filipino style. As the title suggests, the novel is about how a 20-something puts her life back together after a break-up. It’s a story most millennials will be familiar with, but when laid out in words, it makes more sense. Light, funny, and peppered with the requisite hijinks that are standard of every chick-lit novel, this is one book that’s worth picking up.
7Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
It may be classified as a young adult novel, but Tall Story is something even adults will appreciate. The novel tells of a young English girl who meets her eight-foot tall Filipino half-brother. All at once tender, quirky, and profound, it touches on issues of identity, family, and the true meaning of home. Based in the UK, Candy Gourlay was no doubt inspired by her own experiences as an expat. While an easy read, it’s still the kind of story that will stick with you long after you’ve put the book down.
Often underrated and undersung, it’s only a matter of time before Filipino women writers get their much-deserved time in the spotlight. That’s just as well—after you’ve gone through these novels, we’re sure you’ll be craving for more from these authors!