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Banana Heart Summer

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  273 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
In her lush, luminous debut novel, Merlinda Bobis creates a dazzling feast for all the senses. Richly imagined, gloriously written, Banana Heart Summer is an incandescent tale of food, family, and longing--at once a love letter to mothers and daughters and a lively celebration of friendship and community.
Twelve-year-old Nenita is hungry for everything: food, love, life. G
Hardcover, Large Print, 341 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Thorndike Press (first published 2005)
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K.D. Absolutely
Feb 25, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Ayban Gabriyel
Merlinda Carullo Bobis (born 1959) is a Filipino-Australian poet and novelist. She was born in Legaspi, Albay, studied in the University of Santo Tomas and the University of Wollongong and now lives in Australia. She is now a professor at Wollongong University teaching dance and visual art. This book, Banana Heart Summer won her the Gintong Aklat Award (Golden Book Award, Philippines) in 2006.

What I liked about this book is Bobis' poetic prose that reminds me of Isabel Allende. The poetry in her
Kwesi 章英狮
Feb 01, 2011 Kwesi 章英狮 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While reading this book, you'll remember everything what your mother told you when you were young. Her old classic stories and the tragedies that she embark growing with her own family. My mother lived in a barriotic place of Mindanao, somewhere were gadgets and even electricity were never a hindrance to their living. She always talks about her siblings and the days that they enjoyed in there small kitchen cooking, chatting and revealing secrets like the old tale of The Red Tent.

She talks mostly
Jul 25, 2008 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm not going to give a description of this book because I think the description given by GoodReads fits this book to a T. The novel was just that -- lush and descriptive. In fact, I could smell the food Nenita was cooking just as well as I could visualize the scenerios in Nenita's life.

I will discuss the comparison made between this book and The House on Mango Street. I saw that they were compared, so I read Mango Street first and Banana Heart second. I enjoyed both of the books. They were both
Jan 26, 2010 Talya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book uses food as an introduction to each chapter, along with mouthwatering descriptions of the dishes. The protagonist, Nenita (which means "little girl" in Spanish) lives in a poor barrio in the Philippines in the 1960's. She is the oldest of five and decides to drop out of school at 12 to work as a maid for a wealthy woman. Nana Dora, the local cook, who teaches Nenita how to cook also tells her the legend of the Banana Heart, where if someone eats it, they will never be hungry. She starv ...more
May 20, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a bittersweet coming of age story about a poor girl in the Philippines. Born out of the union of a wealthy mom disowned by her family and a dad who was a mere mason, her life at home with five other siblings meant that there was not often much to eat. The story chronicles life on their little street, with vignettes about their neighbors and their happenings.

The book is also centered around the theme of food, and its effect on the body and spirit, how there is never enough, etc. At times
Isa Oraa
Feb 19, 2013 Isa Oraa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book makes me realize how hard your life would be if you don't have someone to lean on, having family or a true friend. They are the reason why you do that, do these things. Just like you wake up for them. I felt pity for her for the hurt and pain she had, physically or emotionally, at the same time, I'm proud because she has that good trait that a girl/sister/daughter like her should possess. Being patient, hard-working, loving and caring. She'd do everything for her love ones' Moreover, t ...more
I only read this book because it was our requirement. I really find it boring at first but as I'm reading it and nearly coming to last part I started to like it and realized that it was just more than a normal story that we can predict the ending. This novel taught me a lot of things in life. I learned how to appreciate and give importance about everything that you have.
Feb 14, 2011 Laila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the setting and the description of food, not much else.
Dec 30, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about halfway through this book, and so far it's such an interesting story. Nining, the protagonist/heroine is really a very sweet girl. The story is told from her point of view, in retrospect; that is, her older self is retelling the story, and this would account for the kind of language that I am pretty sure a poor, 12 year old girl in the Philippines with a middle school education would not use.

Merlinda Bobis's language is very poetic, and I think this is appropriate, as I knew of her as
Nov 25, 2010 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was first attracted to this book because of my ridiculous live for Pinoy food, and was delighted with the array of foods selected as the muse for each chapter. The book follows the life of a young girl struggling to support her 6 younger siblings as both her mother and father struggle to support their still growing family, as well as the constant ek-ek (drama) of the rest of the villagers. As much as I appreciated the lush descriptions of some of my favorite foods, I often got lost in the anal ...more
Jul 06, 2008 Grey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book's language is lush and descriptive. That's about all it has going for it. I wanted to read it because it had been compared to Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street, one of my favorite books. I can see vaguely the reason behind the comparison, but Merlinda Bobis is no Sandra Cisneros.

Reason for the one star? It's boring! I made a pact with myself that if it didn't get better by the beginning of Part Two, I would give it up. Once I got to that point, I couldn't will myself to keep g
Aug 19, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-books
This was a wonderful little book. It's a coming of age story set in a tiny, impoverished villiage in the Philippines. The main character is a 12-year-old girl. She's the oldest of four children. The author does a great job of weaving local folk tales (especially those regarding food) into the story, which gives it an almost mythical air. But at its core, it's a story about a daughter's quest for her mother's love. Beautifully written!
Jay Salvosa
Mar 26, 2013 Jay Salvosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I'm a sucker for stories about food. Every chapter features a local dish (with a phrase or two describing its preparation).

If you hunger for a story about Bikol, the region's culture, and -- of course -- her pantheon of gustatory offerings, this book will surely satiate such cravings.

Merlinda Bobis, I am a instant fan. Your prose is smothered with bittersweet metaphors.
Aug 10, 2012 Salve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book evoked so many memories, but I'm not sure if the memories were all my own. Some of them may have been fragments from other people's stories. That many of the chapters' names had to do with food inspired recollections of a different sort, most of them comforting. All in all, it was a good read for the past few days that have been cold and rainy.
Jan 17, 2016 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-2016
I read this in order to fulfill a reading challenge for the year. I really did not care for it. At first, I thought the food descriptions were okay, but they got old really fast. I understand that the author wanted to give the reader a vivid description, but it was really annoying, especially when she paused in the middle of a thought just to describe what the person was eating and how it may have been cooked.

I didn't care for the story itself. Although in all fairness, this may have been due to
This book was about a girl named nenita which is 12 years old. She has 5 brothers and sisters.She searches for happiness in the deep-frying bananas of Nana dora.Nana dora tells her the myth of the banana heart.
Aug 18, 2012 Johanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me and my mom read this book together. She could really relate with the main character Nenita because she's from the rural province area and my mom's name is Nenita.
Edgar Samar
My thoughts on this book in Filipino are posted here:
Giselle Aranilla
Feb 12, 2013 Giselle Aranilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
nice to read a Novel written by a Filipino author that talks about Bicol, my mother's hometown :)
Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis was my choice for the "Read a Book That is By an Author from Southeast Asia" category in the 2016 Read Harder Challenge by Book Riot.

Banana Heart Summer is a short book with colorful descriptions of the life and food of the people in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Second to food, it is a story about family and a neighborhood- but not very rich in plot. Banana Heart Summer: 2.5 of 5
Aug 07, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"The other and real mix-mix, the halo-halo, was never served that afternoon. All of life's enduring moments that could be sealed in little jars, all the sweetest preserves mixed with shaved ice and sugar and milk, then topped with ice cream, were a mere melted wish now."
Jun 08, 2010 Hilari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Still reading this. Liking the character, the town and food descriptions the most. It does have some moving scenes.. overall I enjoy the poetic feel but sometimes metaphors seem like they're forced to fit.

Part of the reason I'm bent on finishing (and trying to love) this is the fact that the author is from the same region of the Philippines as my mom. I get a huge kick out of seeing the dishes, slang, and language I've heard growing up while getting a colorful glimpse into the culture my family
Aug 03, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-asia
Interesting concept--Foods and recipes relating to the various events in the community and the changes that occur one summer when the volcano on a Philippine island. But the writing is not sequential or linear and some of the foods described are not at all appetizing. The characters are interesting and the events are alternately funny, sad and heart rending.
Jomel Maroma
I gave the novel a rating of two out of five stars. Well, it was wonderfully written (i admire the author for making good some good use of imagery), but it didn't have much impact on me. Yes, it was a pretty sad story, but there's nothing special with it.
Aug 15, 2008 Martha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
EAsy little book about life in the Philippines. I finished the book because the scenery and descriptions were very vivid and gave me a picture of life there. Otherwise it was a rather simple story, and you knew how it would end.
Mar 06, 2011 Gia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shelley
Recommended to Gia by: store
I wanted to read it because it had been compared to Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. this book reveals feelings of another person in the present tense.
Nov 07, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an easy read for me. The book just really flowed for me. The descriptive language used made the story come alive for me and also made my mouth water at times.
Aug 31, 2009 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sweet, fun book about yearning -whether it's for sweets, love, money, or acceptance. I'm always a sucker for lessons being taught by young girls.
Sep 07, 2008 Melia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the way it read like a poem, not only a story, with the metaphors and fantastic descriptions.
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Merlinda Carullo Bobis is a contemporary Philippine-Australian writer and academic. Also a dancer and visual artist, Bobis currently teaches at Wollongong University.

Born in Legaspi City, in the Philippines province of Albay, Merlinda Bobis attended Bicol University High School then completed her B.A. at Aquinas University in Legaspi City. She holds post-graduate degrees from the University of San
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