For the second midterm, you are required to write a review, about 4-5 pages, of either Noel Alumit’s Talking to the Moon OR Elaine Castillo’s America is Not the Heart. The book review should not focus on a simple summary of the book, but rather situate the novel within the historical and contemporary themes addressed throughout the course, especially those of the last few weeks of class – post-1965 labor migration, global diaspora, family separation, etc. The review should evaluate critically the author’s intentions of addressing certain issues. Hence, the bulk of the body of your book review should be an evaluation of how convincing was the authors’ presentation of specific issues related to Filipinos and Filipino Americans. For example, did Alumit do a good job of presenting issues related to indigenous culture, hate crimes, LGBTQ issues, etc.? Why or why not?

As in every essay, you should organize your review around an argument of your own. Your argument should encapsulate your overall impression of Alumit or Castillo’s book and address how and why the books reflect and/or diverge from the historical and contemporary themes addressed in the course.

Among the features you will want to include in a strong review are:

A quick summary of the book’s plot
A discussion of the author’s main contentions
An assessment of the strong points or shortcomings of the book
How does the novel change the way one should think about the issues the author raises?
Finally, you will want to make references to specific portions of the book and topics we covered in class to illustrate your evaluation. The challenge will be to do as much of this as possible and yet not let it interfere with the restricted length of the essay. In other words, find creative ways to give examples from the book in a limited space. As such, quotations should be kept to a minimum, and should rarely exceed one sentence.

IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT write your name on your paper when you submit it on Brightspace. This reduces any forms of grading bias on my part.


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