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Letters to Montgomery Clift

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  231 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This haunting and compelling novel of a Filipino boy sent to America by his parents to escape the brutal Marcos regime is a story of hope set against a backdrop of abuse and alienation. Following the Filipino tradition of writing letters to the ghosts of ancestors, Bong Bong Luwad begins to write letters to the ghost of Montgomery Clift, at first asking to be reunited with ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Alyson Books (first published September 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  231 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Paul Jr.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
December 4, 1976

dear mr. montgomery clift,
i want one thing only. please bring my mama back to me. safe. with no more bruises.
i will wait one week. if nothing bad happens then i know it is ok to write you.
bong bong luwad

With that one child-like letter, author Noel Alumit sets a haunting tone that carries on throughout his remarkable debut novel, Letters to Montgomery Clift. But not only does that letter mark the beginning of the story, it is also the start of a long and sometime intimate rela
Robert Mooney
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Strange and Beautiful. You should read this book.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race
Remarkable book, so very powerful and heartwrenching and almost sickening at times but wonderfully wonderfully rewarding.

The narrative style really bothered me for a good long while, though. Maybe it was an attempt at the childlike voice? The very abrupt sentence structure that kept repeating and rarely varying, enough that I began to get very irritated and missing the musicality I want from a good writing style. Now I'm giving Alumit the benefit of the artistic doubt and excusing that as not ju
Oatmilk Lover
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
It's really interesting that I have been putting off from finishing this book for a long time. I started reading it back in June, but I always found myself laying it aside and forgetting it exists. Sure, the first few chapters hooked me; I thought Bong was a hilarious narrator. So why I didn't go on reading until the end sooner, I don't know. I'd like to use the school card as a justification, but that is so not true. I binge-watched so many episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in between classes.

Idit Bourla
Nice surprise.
Wella, it's pretty challenging reviewing a book and call it beautiful when it's about abuse and rape and kidnapping families and obsession and self harm and and AND. That's a lot.
It's written beautifuly. Characters are real and history is real. Learnt a lot about Bong's culturl!
I've loved the letters. It comines the Hollywood background and history of vintage movies with Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor and 50's stars. I've learnt about it too.
At first you are in shock.
Then you just can
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about how a boy deals with loss as he grows and becomes an adult. And, it is about unfailing hope and optimism. If you are looking for a Gay romance, this book is not for you. Help! I don't know what to say... If you like reading literary fiction, working on several levels, I recommend this book. ...more
Eric Rittenhouse
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as soon as it came out in 2003 and devoured it! I have only read it once, though it is by far one of my favorite books of all time, and now that Im 26... I'd love to read it again and see how it translates to a slightly older, me. ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
I found myself engrossed in this. It is one of the few times I've found a book that looks at intersections of identities: in this case, Filipino, male, gay, immigrant, orphan. And it takes some really dark turns, but important turns to help one understand why fantasy often wins over reality. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Breath taking and quite moving. but with a horrible ending....
elise (the petite punk)
It's truly a shame that Letters to Montgomery Clift has so few reviews/ratings on Goodreads. Although this book was published nearly two decades ago, I bought it in 2017 simply because I wanted to read a book with a queer Filipino narrator. I finally read it in 2020 for Asian Heritage Month (and as someone who is half-Filipino, I don't frequently see Filipino characters/authors without actively looking for them).

Letters to Montgomery Clift follows Bong Bong, a boy born in the Philippines who is
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, poc-authored
Admittedly the idea behind Alumit's book "Letters to Montgomery Clift" is a good one: the coming of age story of a young Filipino boy separated from his parents because of the Marcos Dictatorship who struggles with his sexuality and mental illness. Unfortunately the format and style of the book leave the reader wanting for more: depth, intricacy, language.

While it makes sense that the letters to Monty that introduce each chapter of the book would be written according to the language of a child -
Pamela Scott

I need to lie down for about a week after reading this. I need a hug and some tissues and a teddy and something hot to cuddle into. I didn’t expect this book to affect me so much. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages. I say that a lot and I mean it. I was a gibbering wreck for more than half of this beautiful, gutsy, devastating book, crying so hard I could hardly see to read the words. I didn’t expect to be so, so broken by this book. Bong Bong is
Merritt K.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful ghost/coming of age story about a gay boy where coming out is barely a part of the narrative at all—wonderful. Only knocked a star off because the early narration is from a child's POV. I find that a difficult style to nail and it felt a little awkward here, but it doesn't detract from the rest of the book. ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
less sensational and more down-to-earth than i expected.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
when I worked in the homeless shelter, this old guy would come in every night and, looking at me, would shout out "Montgomery Clift". I reminded him of the actor. Not knowing the actor's work, some friends and I rented "The Misfits", it was pretty clear pretty quickly I don't really look like Clift. Years later, I saw "The Search" with Clift, Ivan Jandl, and Jarmila Novotna. "The Search" is an amazing film. filmed in the ruins of post-war Germany, Clift is a strong male character yet as a nurtur ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
A little clumsy but forgivably so for a first novel. Bong Bong, sent from the Philippines to the US by his parents during the period of political unrest under the Marcos regime, grows up lonely in America as he's shifted from foster home to foster home, wondering where his parents are and why they haven't come for him. In their place, he writes to Montgomery Clift, whose movies comfort him, and as he tries to deal with a whole onslaught of difficult moments (coming to terms with the role his fos ...more
you jenny
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
After reading a book!people would say!oh it not a bad book!course they wouldn't accept that he was wasting one week or one month to read a bad book!well I don't like this book so much!its all about negative things!bang always complain about all the things in his life!the nice people in his life either left him or turned out to be a enemy!there is only one guy he can talk,it's Monty!its about a heartbroken boy who was always complain about his life while he is growing up!i was wondering when will ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sensible-protags
A beautiful piece of work, to be perfectly honest. For a novel that's half epistolary and half journeying through the shitstorm that's life, it hurt a lot more than originally expected. A lot of humanization going about, more than I expected in a novel that sets up Life™ as the antagonist instead of an actual person. By no means does it promote Happy Go Lucky Times™, but it does leave an inkling of hope for those who are looking for it. 5/5, definitely worth reading, definitely worth purchasing. ...more
Nov 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
The deceased actor Montgomery Clift is kept alive in this memoir about a boy from the Philippines who is sent to USA to escape the Marcos' regime. Bong (yes!) writes letters to the deceased iconic Montgomery to help him decompress from a variety of stressful and physically traumatic situations. Throughout his search for answers about his imprisoned parents, he finds love, ends up in a mental institution, and experiences a variety of self-destructive habits. Thank god for the happy ending because ...more
Sala Bim
4.5 This was a great read for me. It was haunting and sad and deep. It sometimes felt disconnected. And it was beautifully written. I have a strange obsessesion with Monty Clift....He haunts me (only while dreaming :). So this was very satisfying for me.
Chris Lawton
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading Noel's book. It made me laugh out loud and cry. ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
this is a wonderful and poetic read with great characters
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May 30, 2010
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