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Dear Philomena

4.70  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Dear Philomena, is the story of two strokes, one boy, one girl and a whole lot of magical realism.

July 1991, Leocardia Byenkya underwent an ultrasound that informed her to expect a baby girl. She chose the name Philomena.

January 16 1992, her baby was born as a boy. Filled with shock and surprise, Leocardia named her baby boy Mugabi.

December 2014, Mugabi suffered from two
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 26th 2017 by Discovery Diversity Publishing
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4.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Sachin De Saram
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dear Philomena is a candid, raw, and emotionally riveting read. I've known Mugabi since the 2nd grade but due to the nature of our international upbringing and constant changing of school and country, it wasn't always possible for us to keep in touch. However, a few months ago I was fortunate enough to meet up with my childhood friend after 10+ years, and learned about his trials and tribulations. I was shocked that such a young individual could endure several strokes and still maintain such an ...more
Suleiman Ocheni
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OK, so I won’t lie; I had to take a couple days off after reading the first 50ish pages of this book. I did this only because it was more intense than I originally expected it to be.

In life everyone has a burden to bear and we as human beings tend to get preoccupied with our own issues and forget about other people’s hardships. I think this story is so incredibly important because not only does it talk about an illness that many people don’t know a lot about, but it does it in such a vivid mann
Joel Benjamin Benjamin
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daiane Aizen
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has challenged my understanding of the world in ways that I would have never expected. It is hard to believe that someone can undergo those kinds of situations and still be standing strong and living life to the fullest. It made me appreciate the simple things and it made me realize how grateful I am that my body is on my side. But what inspired me the most is that the author did not let his body define who he is and what he is capable of. It is as if he was born again into this World ...more
Sebastian Sanchez Deuer
This book uses an inventive storytelling technique that engages the reader directly, which makes it an easy read. The book tackles the very tough subjects of mental and physical health with utmost sincerity and good humor, making it easy to read in spite of its grueling theme. Not a tear-jerker, Dear Philomena uses the title character as the Ying to Mugabi’s Yang, always shinning a positive light and distracting from the odds that seem to always be stacked against the main character, suffering f ...more
Lexie Coutts
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely could not put this book down! I read the book cover to cover in one day because I was completely enraptured with the writing style. I have never before read a book that left me with as many questions as answers. “Dear Philomena” left me heartbroken and feeling raw in the way only a true story can. I think anyone who struggles with an illness (physical or mental) would be able to relate with Mugabi and this book absolutely feels like he’s shouting from the rooftops “you’re not alone” ...more
Colin Roy
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very intense and ensightful read. Anyone who has had or knows anyone who has had chronic pain, illness, and or issues with arrogant dismissive doctors must read. The book grabs ahold of you from page one and doesn't let go. The book definitely provides strength to anyone suffering from any problems life throws at them.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really deep, really personal. The realities of life. Raw and Real….. Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your story with us. I feel like I know you on a higher level that I can truly appreciate. I need to meet with you and have a long conversation!!
Vivienne Arinda
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first time I saw this book cover I was curious to read it wondering why this split face cover so I bought it. I read this book between the lines and it left me heart broken as Mugabi takes you down the story lane authentically. And by the time I met Mugabi physically it seemed like I had known him all his life and I am so humbled. This book gave me reason to always write and keep on writing. This book is a must read and have. This book has a voice that calls you from the dark and anyone else ...more
Rachel May
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a treasure and a gift. As someone who can relate to unbearable chronic pain, this book and Mugabi's work fill my heart with so much joy at seeing someone articulate what I have been so far unable to say. Heart- and gut-wrenching, powerful, intelligent, stylish and unique are all words that I could use to describe this book.
The style is important because not only do I feel I recognize ways in which it captures the mind of someone with chronic pain, but also because it made it easier
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a must read. It had me emotionally engaged the entire time, and the unique format (with the back & forth instant messages and breaks for phone calls of different length) got my mind thinking in different ways about what Mugabi was implying by not needing to even "say" anything in some cases. That's powerful. It was also a very relatable way to write (since so much of our communication lives are built on instant messages and social media nowadays.)

Thank you, Mugabi, for sharing
Bita Diomande
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Dear Philomena in one sitting, just couldn't put it down. Mugabi's strength in sharing these raw emotions was so powerful. What a plight he went through, exacerbated by the lack of empathy shown by doctors he encountered. As someone interested in alternative healing methods, I was comforted to know that he was able to find peace and strength through that. Mugabi's writing style, in a dialogue with his dear friend Philomena was very engaging. I CANNOT wait for a sequel to hear what happene ...more
Rudolf Ray
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Right off the bat, one wouldn't know what to make of the story. It is as beautiful as it is upsetting, a definite must-read. 'Dear Philomena' exemplifies a strong positive theme for many people suffering with chronic pain, and Mugabi's writing style constantly creates the balance that reassures the reader of the light at the end of the tunnel. It is funny, it is raw, it is hard to put down once you get started. worth reading twice!
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I bought this book in Kampala after being hooked by the glossary right at the start. It seemed so frank. And funny. I wasn't quite sure how to read this book as this was a tone and a voice I was not used to. It took me a while to realise that this was a true tale - just an honest account of an incredible life, told as it happened. The book was an eye-opener for me and not just into what it might be like living with chronic pain. An exploration into honesty.
Anrenee Reasor
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
After following Mugabi on social media, it was intriguing to see what was happening in his life when he made such posts. Readers see the thought process he underwent whilst updating his status or tweeting. The epistolary between he and Philomena really shows what happened during this crucial period of his life. He holds nothing back and covers topics from chronic pain, suicide, dating, and the struggle to survive. His battle serves as an inspiration to all!
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good book leaves you thinking about it long after you're done reading it. I keep thinking about the book "Dear Philomena" and it still brings tears to my eyes. I couldn't put the book down, I was drawn in right from the start. Now I find myself wishing I had a friendship/relationship like the one between Mugabi and Philomena. Just an overall great book
Emily Gillespie
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this work. I am amazed by the display of vulnerability that was explored in the book. I really enjoyed the style, written as a text and social media conversation between close friends during an illness. Amazing portrayal of the variety of feelings that surround both navigating the healthcare system & coming to terms with what life may look like with illness.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This gripping book is not one you can easily put down, as Mugabi draws you into his frustrating, painful, and isolating day-to-day life in a way that is truly raw and uncut. Thank you for inviting us into your life and sharing with us what a vulnerable and resilient person you are.
Maya Williams
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A needed story in our time right now.
Lulu  Opio
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is hard to understand what sort of pain people go through everyday until you experience it.
Avery Stempel
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I heard Mugabi perform at two different poetry readings. His struggle to come to terms with how his illnesses impacted his life is clearly laid out in this book. I loved the style he used to move the story along. Many very powerful statements about life, and being human, and struggling through the system! Great read!
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dreams, memoir
Illuminating book exploring a deep, mystical friendship through a surprise chronic pain that feels like it will be a new normal, showing how people communicate today, through texting, social media, calls, and even snail mail.
Lydia Andrews
rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2018
Mugabi Byenkya
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Urukundo Rugumaho
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2018
rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2017
Pallavi Guha
rated it it was amazing
Nov 16, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2018
Beth Mwangi
rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2018
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