My Thoughts About Saw Her Standing There by Patrick Formanes (Book Review #128)

A subtle book meant as a love letter to the one you promised to be with forever. Tell me what’s sweeter than that.

This is the first book that I finished for #DiverseAThon. I received this book as a complimentary copy when I attended the book’s launching last November. I know it’s been a long time coming before I picked up and read this book considering how excited I was when I got my hands to it. I was actually planning to read this book for February because it being a love story, I mean, yeah, I know you already get the connection. But then the announcement of #DiverseAThon came and choosing for a book to read became a struggle since I want my selection to be as diverse but also finishing the books be achievable as possible. I put this book on my list because I want to have something of like a light-read, something that I can just easily breeze through. There’s also that added excitement because I haven’t read a book yet about Filipino-Americans’ experiences growing up in the US.

conversationswithpatrickformanes1479173763Here’s the book’s synopsis:
In New York City, there were these two people, Ryan and Lane. They met in high school, fell in love, and later married. Yes, to each other. From here, it would be easy to ask, “Does anyone die? Did they turn into wizards? Witches? Ghosts? Vampires? How about zombies? Or, are they monsters of unknown origins, their only aim to annihilate their neighboring monsters by gnashing them to delicious morsels with their ridiculously sharp incisors, leaving the planet to stew in the juices and horrific odors of rotten animal flesh, splintered bones, and exposed innards, then kill each other because: (1) they get hungry again and (2) they don’t like vegetables?” No. None of that stuff will be found in this novel. Through these pages, you will learn about Ryan and Lane, who are regular humans devoid of any superpowers, as well as their fellow Filipino-American friends, and how they maneuver through personal challenges while attending their Queens high school. Follow them as they play sports, kiss (and more), use the foulest language, excel academically (at least most of them), fight, go to parties, eat food, take public transportation, and, most importantly, learn about each other.

The book launch took place in The Forum, Fully Booked in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City and was organized by Icon International Events Productions. The author together with his wife, Eileen, talked about the book and answered questions from eager bloggers. One part of the event included the author reading a chapter of the book to the amusement of the attendees. According to the author, he dedicates the novel to his wife adding that it is his love letter to her. We all know about the Beatles song “Saw Her Standing There” which the author confirmed as where he got the title.

The book follows the colorful story of Ryan and Lane which, according to the author, is where him and his wife’s love story is loosely based. The book talks about their experiences growing up in New York with their friends. Starting from sharing their individual stories with their different set of friends in high school, to the movies that they watch which is most of the time only enjoyed by one, their school and the games they played with the people they met, struggles of some of them in excelling academically, moving around New York, attending parties and to them eventually meeting and learning about each other.

To be honest, this is a very hard book to review. Not because I did not enjoy it but because the book is so personal to the author and I was able to witness it first hand. This is quite different because I guess it’s a different feeling when you were able to learn what this book is and be able to see first hand the inspiration behind it rather than just reading from the book’s synopsis that the author dedicates this book to his wife. I want to as much as possible remove myself from that kind of bias but I can’t help it. While reading the book I see myself imagining Patrick and Eileen as the main characters. The sweetness and the genuine storytelling allowed me to connect more to the characters. The book was simply written and nothing too literary which works well with the sincerity of what’s the real purpose of the book, which is to just show his love for his wife. For that purpose alone, this book delivered.

What I also like from this book is that it gave me a glimpse of a Filipino household living outside the Philippines. The book is overflowing with everything Filipino from customs and practices, dialogues, food and that certain distinct bond between family members. The book also did not shy away from showing the difficulties of being an immigrant in the US which I did appreciate. Aside from the love story aspect, the book is also about the value of having a tightly knit family and having friends who will always be with you through every roller coaster ride. That alone make this book’s theme classic.

3 stars out of 5.

Patrick Formanes’ Saw Her Standing There is available in Fully Booked branches or you can also purchase the book here.

Note: My gratitude to Icon International Events Productions for inviting to attend the book’s launch and giving me a review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. In no way was my opinion about the book influenced.

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS:

Author: Patrick Formanes
Format: Paperback
Source: Complimentary Copy from the Author
Release Year: December 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
No. of Pages: 298 pages

About the Author:

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Me with the author.

The author, a first-generation Filipino-American, was born and raised in New York City to immigrant parents and has one brother.

He attended New York University and majored in Journalism. He proceeded to work in the field of publishing for over 14 years before writing and completing his first novel, Saw Her Standing There.

He currently lives in NYC, dividing his time unevenly. If depicted on a pie chart (one will not be provided here), the largest chunk (99.8%) would show the amount of time he spends with his family. Other multi-colored slivers (the remaining 0.2%) would consist of: rooting for the New York Mets, improving his guitar playing, pestering his brother about stickball, and playing tennis. (Source)

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