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Don’t Tell My Mother

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  38 reviews
With an overly zealous mother as her guide, 19-year-old Sam has never had problems navigating through Christian suburbia before. But, all that changes when she befriends and becomes intrigued with Clara, her widowed neighbor and the village’s social outcast. When their friendship grows into the “unnatural”, Sam is forced to examine her upbringing and come to terms with who ...more
Kindle Edition, 94 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by Spark Books, an Anvil Publishing, Inc. imprint (first published February 2017)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  124 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Apr 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fil-reads
An LGBTQ+ book set in the Philippines centering around a closeted lesbian living in a conservative town? Of course I was dead-set on getting this book ever since I found out about it!
The thing with this book is that it pretty much tackles complicated issues eclipsed in a simple and short story. We start with Sam, a closeted 19-year old kid trying to fit herself into her small dominant Christian community to appease her devout Christian mother. Some time she meets widowed Clara who is outcasted
K.J. Charles
A coming of age f/f romance as a 19yo with a bullying religious mother comes to terms with her sexuality and falls in love with an older woman. (Who is a widow, was happily married, and is exploring her sexuality as much as our heroine.) It's passionately told and felt, as much about Sam's need to escape her stifling life and recognise how abusive her mother is as about the love story, though that is adorable (closed door love scenes). Also, lovely to see that Clara is the catalyst for her escap ...more
Neil (or bleed)
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pinoy-books
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been typing-deleting-typing my review for the last 15 minutes, and that's probably because

There are many good things to say about this book—moving, brave, funny, staggering—but it might be better for me to leave it this way instead:

And it doesn't even matter what pronoun/sexual preference/gender identity you use and/or identify with, or what or whom you believe in. You will find your self in this book in more ways than one.

(view spoiler)
Jeanine Carstairs
Don't Tell my Mother was an okay read. It's interesting at first because it tackles the struggles of a lesbian teenager hiding 'her true self'. I had a hard time adjusting to the writing because the style was a bit confusing for me. The first parts were okay but the story started going downhill somewhere in the middle. There were also a lot of unnecessary flashbacks. I wish I saw more of Sam and Christina's friendship and what they used to be instead. It's quite disappointing that the ending lef ...more
Jay Tria
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stellar, sharp writing. Prose so hilarious it brought me to the edge of tears so many times, both tears of joy and tears of aching lament. Characters so tangible I felt I could reach out and touch them, play chess with them, eat their chicken gallantina. Bautista is another author added to my auto-buy list.
4.5 stars, rounding down

This book wrecked me but in the best way possible! It’s so funny and heartbreaking at the same time. This isn’t YA but it’s definitely a coming of age story with emphasis on Sam’s development and journey as she explores her sexuality within her upbringing in a fundamentalist Christian household. Her mother is abusive, something Sam has to come to terms with because she loves her mother and desperately wants to be accepted. I wish there had been more exploration of her rel
This book is one of our Recommended Reads! Read our post here.

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Nayd Galura
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Light, easy read

A novel for Manila’s LGBT community. It’s awesome we get to read our stories set in our streets. Best to read during a short holiday. Something easy and light thanks to the author’s talent for prose.
Kristīne Vītola
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
"Just friends" language
"I still want to live, Clara. I can’t die a
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked Don't Tell My Mother for the 2k17 Asian Lit Bingo's prompt "queer romance with asian mc". Apart from that, I didn't know much what to expect from this short novel. But I'm glad I read it - It's a beautiful story.

And a painful one, too, since we're here. And powerful. Don't Tell My Mother presents us Sam, our narrator, a 19yo girl from the Philippines with an overly religious mother, a desire to please her parents no matter what and also some history with Cristina, the girl next door sen
Kate (The Bookaholic Blurbs)
Full review over at The Bookaholic Blurbs!

Don't Tell My Mother is a journey to acceptance and self-love. It is another story that champions how love wins. It feels heavy in the heart but surely puts bright lights in the mind.
Mary Anne Balane
Jul 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was so glad to find out that such a book -- a new adult Filipino novel with a lesbian protagonist -- exists. But, to be honest, I was kind of disappointed at how clunky the storytelling and hurried the characterization sometimes got. Nonetheless, I'm still glad that this book exists because it is a pioneer in diversifying the new adult genre in the Philippines. ...more
H. Bentham
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I got my own copy at #AprilFeelsDay2017 but I’ve been craving to read this since news of its existence reached me through Twitter last year. This is my first FF romance and I’m fortunate enough to have been ‘devirginized’ by this book! LOL

I hate slow paced stories. A slow first few chapters is enough for me to DNF a book, but with Brigitte’s witty prose and stellar writing (and probably my own experiences growing queer in the PH), I only noticed the not-so-fast pacing after I’ve read ‘til the en
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-gap
Written in first person, from the POV of 19-year-old Sam, and set in some very Christian town in Laguna, Philippines, 𝑫𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝑻𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝑴𝒚 𝑴𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 started off with hilarity -- with humour that made me literally guffaw and hooked to its story from the very beginning. And then, I would find myself upset and frustrated over topics such as homophobia among Christians, bullying, depression, suicide, and more homophobia, and body-shaming courtesy of your 𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙨 (who call themselves Christians *gags*).

But the h
Bryan Montallana
A new adult fiction book fit for the 21st century and a binary reading--either 1 or a 0 in general. And it's a 1 for me. It's a blend of positive and negative, testing the value of perspective. Centered on a subject that not everyone will agree on, this book will burst out curiosity and will keep you company in a heartwarming manner. It's a love story that takes twists and turns, like any other love stories, but the struggle of keeping the love story alive is what this book's all about. (Not to ...more
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
my god..... it now just struck me how much representation really does matter. i think this is the first lesbian filipino book ive ever read and this already means a lot to me. sam's life was laid out and i felt like i was just going through my own photo album growing up. just a hundred pages compact with such hyperspecific relation to a life of a filipino lesbian raised in an aggressively conservative religious home. i wish i had read this earlier in my life... it would have been nice to have 15 ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: core, would-rec, filipino
It’s been a while since a book hit me the way this one did. Unsure of it’s the sexuality crisis or the protagonist being a Filipina or the protagonist living within a Christian community or the author being Filipina herself but this book sent me into a spiral that one can only feel when they relate so intensely to a book that each word hits too hard. I so wish it was longer. Such a sweet, short read.
Dusty Griffin
Definitely nice to see an LGBT book written by Filipinos centering around Filipino culture, but I think the book itself suffers from its length. If we got to see Sam's struggle in finding who she was after moving out, the book would have made a much more powerful impact.

Overall, 6 Nokia phones out of 10.
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was so good! I, initially, had no idea what the book was about (Yes, it was a cover buy. Sue me.), I was pleasantly surprised tho! The wit, the humor, I LOVE. I wasn't that into the relationship because I think it could've had a more solid build-up, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. This one's a great read, highly recommend!

TW // suicide, homophobia
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-cried-to
It’s been a while since a book hit me the way this one did. Unsure of it’s the sexuality crisis or the protagonist being a Filipina or the protagonist living within a Christian community or the author being Filipina herself but this book sent me into a spiral that one can only feel when they relate so intensely to a book that each word hits too hard. I wish it was longer. Such a good, short read.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun. A page turner

Traditional Filipino culture was shown vividly, funny yet dramatic as you read it in a child's perspective. As someone who grew in the province I very much relate to some of the scenarios outside the church.
Aira Irish
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love it! It’s filled with exploratory phase of the main character trying to figure out who she really is and who she wanted to be.
Jan 20, 2020 added it
Shelves: lgbtqia, dnf, z-loaned
This was a DNF for me. Just didn’t click with the writing style — at least not right now, and my library copy is due back tomorrow. I may try something else by this author in the future, though.
cherry ♡
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-sapphic
*3.5 — i may have teared up
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty enjoyable and a nice "slice of life" look at a very specific story, suburban born-again Christianity and homosexuality in the Philippines. ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
khi s
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A relatively good book that only falls short because of its length. 4.5
Katt Briones
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me so long to finish this because I wanted to savor everything I've read. I wanted to understand and fully absorb it - it was just that beautiful. The ending was beautiful and poetic in a sense... can't explain na... I just love it. Definitely recommending it to my friends. ...more
I find the story simple yet beautiful. Each flashback bears realization for Sam as she discovers and accepts herself, all skins shed as she puts it. Like she’s revisiting them and seeing each with a new understanding. I think it’s brave to set the story not only within a Christian family but a Christian community. Despite Filipinos being openly accepting of LGBTQ, there are still those who, like the people in the suburbs Sam lives in, are set into their beliefs. And others, while okay with LGBTQ ...more
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