On My Bookshelf: Community Recs No. 5

Book cover featuring a smiling brown woman with brown curly hair. She is wearing a red swimsuit and posing with her head tilted back, her elbow resting on a bent knee. Title: Rolling the R's. A novel by R. Zamora Linmark.

This book is very significant and important to our modern culture.

An anthology of writings I read at the University of Hawaii is called Rolling the R’s by R. Zamora Linmark. It is also in anthology style that follows the same plot with different chapters written in different ways. Some chapters are poems, some are dialogue, and some are exposition. It is about a Filipino-American boy struggling with his homosexuality in Honolulu. There are also transgender issues as the drag culture is common in Hawaii. The novel cover is a transgender woman posing in the famous Farrah Fawcett pose with the red swimsuit. The language changes throughout the novel as well some in English, some in pidgin, and some in Tagalog. It is important to the history of Hawaii which is probably why our professor asked us to study the novel. I recommend it as a fun read because it does have similar social issues and difficulties through the lens of a different culture.

There are many examples of postmodernism and its influence in Rolling the R’s by Linmark. The novel contains scenes where culture clashes with itself along with ideas of religion and identity. The time period is set in the 1970’s, with focal points having to do with Filipino culture, the Hawaiian local experience, homosexuality, and pop culture. The experience is in the point of view of people affected by post colonialism.

This is significant to our themes of children trying to grow up in a colonized American society. It is an inspirational book that I found significant to readers who need to feel represented. Even though it has to do with marginalized Filipino immigrants in the state of Hawaii, it pertains to the immigrant experience in America as a whole. The Hawaiian islands in the Pacific are not actually considered U.S.A. to the native or the Asian immigrants. The languages of Tagolog and pidgin are in this novel which I think are important for the concept of hybrid and marginalized societies. The novel is creative and informative to help the world understand who they are.

-Richard Ramirez

Published by modcasters

We’re a group of graduate students studying English Literature and Language on a mission to discuss literature, provide access to those on the deafness and/or blindness spectrum, and rock mustachios.

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