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ER Escober

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Not My Bowl Of Rice
by ER Escober   

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  1stBooks ISBN-10:  140338830 Type: 


Copyright:  Sep 1 2002

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Not My Bowl Of Rice is "Like Water for Chocolate" meets "Joy Luck Club" It's so witty and tasty, it should come with a warning not to read if you're hungry.

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Reader Reviews for "Not My Bowl Of Rice"

Reviewed by Elena DeRoche 11/25/2003
Review By Angel Gonzales

If you like Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, this book will surely strike a familiar chord in you. It is an homage to Filipino culinary and the colorful, if not melodramatic, life of newly migrant Filipinos.

Being an immigrant myself, this book has affected me so profoundly. The shock and awe of adapting to a new culture almost invariably left me in tears and laughter. The book has the ingredients of scrumptious all-time typical Filipino favorite recipes that are an old-age tradition handed down from generations to generations. Mr. Escober has definitely captured the travails of almost all migrant Filipinos in their struggle to retain their identity while trying to assimilate the new culture of their adaptive land. It pinches a very soft spot in one’s heart while the author deals with an intimacy in portraying the ordeal of the main character, Ligaya, who epitomizes every new immigrant’s fear, excitement and interminable voyage of making it big in the Big Apple and America in general.
The book intellectually portrays different facets and experiences such as finding love, coping with death, sexual harassment, sexual identity, losing hope and finally redeeming one’s self—all these, while preparing delicious Filipino delicacies. This reminds me of one Filipino movie, American Adobo, although the book effectively delivers the right emotion with a punch, unlike the movie that sometimes fizzled.

Not My Bowl Of Rice is the author’s first novel and he obviously made a name already as evidenced by his recent nomination in IPPY 2003 Book Award for Best fiction in the multi-cultural category. The book is written as a tribute to his mother, but it may also be a tribute to every Filipino who comes to America in seeking greener pasture in the proverbial land of milk and honey.
Reviewed by ER Escober 10/10/2003
REVIEWED BY Michelle Barreda

In Not my Bowl of Rice, Escober uses rich Filipino dishes to weave the coming-of-age story of a 13-year old girl named Ligaya, as she emigrates from the Philippines to the United States, equipped only with her mother’s recipes and cultural tales. The book consists of twenty-five chapters, each named after a traditional Filipino dish, which range in difficulty (from Adobong Manok to Embutido), and each ending with its mouth-watering recipes. Each of these chapters is also full of Filipino folklores and cultural beliefs and its role in Ligaya’s every day life. Escober even sneaks in Tagalog phrases here and there, always providing the English translation for the non-Filipino reader. It’s an all-in-one crash course in Filipino culture, complete with humor and straight-to-the-point storytelling.
The character of Ligaya, lives through issues alive in our lives today (Filipino or not): dealing with a mother’s favoritism of your sibling, sexual harassment in the workplace, interracial relationships and losing a family member to AIDS. Through it all, she never loses hope but she gains perspective and finds strength and comfort in the support of her loyal family, and of course, in the various delicious Filipino dishes.
Filipino or not, one can empathize with the story of Ligaya, the story of a newcomer trying to find her place in a completely different land, while coping with life’s twists and turns at the same time.

Reviewed by Helen D. 7/16/2003
ER, congratulations on your first novel! It's such a fine book that when I started reading in the the a.m. Sunday last 6/22, I couldn't put it down; read through and finished up early evening same day! Wow! It was very educational (replete with cultural info). Anyone would surely enjoy reading and learning about this very fascinating culture. I had a blast reaing it because you're able to put as much vaue, traditions, superstitions, thinking of this often misunderstood culture into one , neat book. Hats off to you. Looking forward to reading more of your masterpieces.
Reviewed by Clare 4/1/2003
Why Hasn't Kelly Ripa or Oprah Winfrey Found This Book Yet?

This is the best book I've read in the last year. It's the rare type of book that you pick up to thumb through and soon find yourself many laughs and tears later reading the last page. The main character, Ligaya, is a Filipina who travels to America to join her mother and to pursue a new life in the "land of milk and honey". The encounters she has along the way and during her journey through America's landscape of corporations, relations, and life in general are told so engagingly, so hilariously that you can't put the book down even though you should really be putting on the pot roast for dinner. And as an added bonus, there are succulent Filipino recipes at the end of every chapter! Though I was never introduced to Filipino cuisine prior to this book, I was motivated to try a couple and they were true "people-pleasers" in my circle of friends. I can't wait for this author's next book!
Reviewed by Arm 2/28/2003
Just to let everybody know, I finished reading the book and it was wonderful! Easy reading and had I not been Filipino, would have appreciated all the new information. It gives one major insight into a fascinating culture we so dearly love. Thanks for writing this book!
Reviewed by Eileen Rocha 1/9/2003
It's Filipino-American Community's very own My Big Fat Greek Wedding!

Finally, a book that us Filipinos in America and all over the world can call our own. It is such a unique book in the sense that it is a combination of a compelling story about a Filipina's life in America and a cookbook as well. Each chapter is titled after a Filipino or international dish and carries its complete recipe. It is written well, easy and fast-paced reading. I couldn't put it down and when I finally finished, I have never been more familiar about my own culture, nuances, habits, etc than after reading this ultimate book about us Filipinos. It's a must-read, especially if you are an immigrant.

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