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The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  111 reviews
A riotous collection of "witty and captivating" (Bitch Magazine) essays by a gay Filipino immigrant in America learning that everything is about sex—and sex is about power

When Matt Ortile moved from Manila to Las Vegas, the locals couldn't pronounce his name. Harassed as a kid for his brown skin, accent, and femininity, he believed he could belong in America by marryin
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 2nd 2020 by Bold Type Books
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Geoff Yes, it definitely is. Ortile talks openly and plainly about sexual encounters that are likely to shock younger readers.

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chan ☆
Jul 21, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction
there were parts of this i absolutely loved and parts i was really bored by. i think listening on audio in one sitting maybe wasn’t the best way to consume this... mostly because it’s a collection of essays so there was a lot of overlap in content and reading them all back to back could at times be a bit boring.

that being said i really loved the author’s look at his experiences through the lens of how colonialism impacted his view of himself and the world. the elements of Filipino history includ
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m so happy to read and review an essay collection by a gay Filipino immigrant! I most loved The Groom Will Keep His Name for Matt Ortile’s honest, intelligent writing about the colonization of the Philippines and how that colonization manifests in his own life, as well as the steps he takes to resist it. He writes about colonization, tokenization, and fetishization in a way that educates the reader without taking us out of his overall narrative, the sign of a talented essay writer who can blen ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio narrated by the author. This is a smart, insightful, sometimes funny, emotionally resonant collection of essays covering a number of important topics. I highly recommend listening to an essay or two at a time and giving yourself time to reflect on Ortile’s words. Thank you for the the gifted audio. I think so much of the book I also bought a hardcopy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: and instagram:
✨    jamieson   ✨
The Groom Will Keep His Name is a poignant, funny and insightful collection of essays, examining various topics from race, imperialism, queerness and romance, as well as where they intersect. Matt Ortile details his experiences moving from Manila to Las Vegas, discussing how his sexuality, femininity, ethnicity and appearance were received in America and how, in turn, it affected his psyche as he strove to achieve assimilation in America.

I think this is a really unique essay collection about li
Lily Herman
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an incredible debut for Matt Ortile. The Groom Will Keep His Name will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think. I loved every second of it.

Through its pages, Ortile's work unpacks what it means to be part of intersecting—and sometimes conflicting—identities and communities and the struggle to find oneself in the midst of them. All of his essays were strong, but two of my favorites were those on his construction of the Vassar Girl and his complicated, evolving views on marriage. And
Alanna Bennett
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you lay out what Matt Ortile is doing in this book — unpacking the effects of whiteness and the lie of the American dream, his own complacency and his journey into existing beyond it — the text could sound academic. And it certainly is well-researched, and well-thought. But I need you to know how beautiful the prose in this book is, too. How Ortile's becoming is wrapped in stories that are sexy, bracing, deeply relatable, and interesting even if you do not fall into Ortile's specific demogr ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
⁣Thank you @hachetteaudio @boldtypebooks @librofm for this audiobook⁣

I enjoyed this audiobook so much that I decided to get the kindle book as well so my husband can read it too. This was spot on about the hardship attached to the whole ”Living the American Dream.” People from our home country may think that our lives here is bed of roses, I mean don't get me wrong, we sure have better opportunities and lives, but our journey towards it wasn't easy. And I am one of those that even after twenty
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A strong and lovely 5 stars to this book and Matt Ortile!
This autobiography is exactly everything I needed to read. Finding Ortile's experiences putting well together helped me view my life differently.

Thank you for writing this book and sharing your stories on being a gay Filipino immigrant. This book makes my heart scream in public a lot of times and I find it so relatable to mine. I love and adore this book. Most importantly, learning the importance and uniqueness of oneself, especially our
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, I have never had a put a book down so many times because it hit so close to home. Between wrestling with how you fit in the model minority myth, navigating being a Filipino at a small liberal arts college, or crying over some pecan pie bought to avoid loneliness, I have never felt more seen. I didn’t want it to end.
Tori Larson
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Matt Ortile’s debut is an education. A series of essays about race, colonialism, queerness, family, the American dream, and millennialism, The Groom Will Keep His Name is witty and raw. This book is incredibly self-aware. Matt lays himself bare, reckoning with the elitism he so long has desired and how he came to his values. He does not shy away from detailing his relationships and all the beauty, pain, and sex that came with them. Having read Matt’s essays before, I knew it would be well-writte ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I would give this 3.5 stars - the quality of each essay varied, and it often felt like the author was still grappling with issues that he was trying to talk about with authority. It felt like I was reading a memoir written by a young person, which is what this is. It read as quite unsure of itself at times. The strongest parts were the conversations about history and politics of the Philippines.
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I vow to love myself with grace and have love, in turn, to share.
Matt Ortile's collection of essays uncovers his experience as a queer Filipino who immigrated to the United States at a young age with his mother. In his essays, Ortile grapples with being, living, between two worlds that bring both merit as well as their downsides. He explores the influence of the harmful 'model minority' stereotype on his trajectory, particularly as an alum of a prestigious college (as delved into in 'Vassar
This was a perfect time to read this book as I think of my brother and close friends and celebrate pride week, but I am also exploring the issues of race and racism and this adds another dimension as Mr. Ortile addresses the issues of racism against and by Asians in the bigger context of racism against people of color. I found this book to be very well written and narrated and learned a fair bit of history that I wasn't fully aware of regarding colonialism. This book was clearly well researched ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
(#gifted @librofm) I went on somewhat of a non-fiction audiobook kick in July, and honestly they were all great! The Groom Will Keep His Name by Matt Ortile is a collection of essays arranged in a sort of memoir. Ortile reflects on all sorts of aspects of his life so far, but mainly on sex, power and the model minority myth.
I loved how open and honest Ortile is throughout the book. He bares all when it comes to relationships, from Grindr to steam room encounters at his gym, and he lays his lear
Susie Dumond
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this essay collection, Matt Ortile explores his experience as a gay Filipino immigrant in America. From the model minority myth to racism within the LGBT community, Ortile's writing is insightful, funny, and heartfelt. His narrative voice is so strong, and it made reading this book feel like time spent with a smart, entertaining friend. This collection makes it clear that the personal is political and the political is personal; Ortile is able to examine his own experiences with a wide lens. I ...more
Jennifer Schultz
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read if you: Want some thought-provoking essays about being Filipino-American, an immigrant, and gay.

Matt Ortile's essays run the gamut from immigrating to the US from the Philippines, growing up in Las Vegas, attending Vassar, his early career in New York, and dating. The dark and troublesome colonial history of the Philippines and their later period of dictatorships is also an important theme throughout the book; quite an eye-opener if you're not familiar with it.

Librarians and booksellers:
Aaron Aceves
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I can't exaggerate home much I love this book. Hilarious, honest, touching. Everything I could ever want. ...more
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
*ARC from NetGalley*

I don't know why it took me longer to read this than my last memoir. Maybe I'm just not really a non-fiction reader.

I enjoyed this and how I could relate to it being myself an immigrant looking for a better life. While I could relate to a bit, I couldn't to many more and I found it very interesting to see all the ways Matt and his mother faced the new world they decided to inhabit.

I really liked how everything was explained with a little humour that compensated the heavier pa
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Available today! I got this essay collection from Net Galley and I was eager to read it. Matt Ortile is a gay, Filipino-American living in New York City who attended Vassar and worked in major media. This is his first collection of essays and they are raw and honest. The essays get stronger with the strongest as the last, eponymous essay. These pieces are layered referring to events and characters creating story that more like a web. Ortile tackles themes such as sex and sexuality, immigration a ...more
Veronica Duran
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a poignant portrayal of the trials and tribulations of several intersected identities (in Matt Ortile's case, being an immigrant, Filipino-American, and gay) in this country that promises "The American Dream". He gives such raw and honest accounts of being met with a lot of social and cultural challenges and adversities throughout the years, while chasing "the dream". I felt at times this read very scholarly and educational. I felt as though I was back in college reading a sociology tex ...more
Kloyde Caday
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Ortile’s suite of essays walked me through the bars that smell of youth, a wedding ceremony that makes me rethink of romance, the ideals at schools like Vassar, and the colonial periods that has brought us to where we are now.
In talking about racism, queerness, cultures, and love, he hopscotches from millennial-speak to scholarly to irreverence—but this amalgamation has not strayed the readers from stressing that everything is political: love is political; identity is political; belonging i
Lindsay Loson
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads, librofm
Thank you to Libro FM for this ALC, out now!

I absolutely love any audiobook that is narrated by the author, and this was no exception. Since I am fairly new to audiobooks still, I feel that if one can keep me captivated while I do things around the house, or has me extending my walks so I can continue to listen, then it is a really good one. I felt the same way about listening to Matt Ortile as I did with George M. Johnson; like they were just having long conversations with me about their lives
Jess Bondy
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We all came here for ‘a better life.’ But to witness such prejudice in my own time and in my history books, has taught me that racism, homophobia, and xenophobia are fixtures of life in the United States. The list of evidence is exhausting.”

The Groom Will Keep His Name is a humorous, yet serious, intersection of what it’s like to experience America as a gay, immigrant, person of color. Ortile’s writing both kept me entertained and taught me so much; his sense of humor and honestly provided a li
Emma Presnell
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Perseus Books and NetGalley for this ARC!

Through his collection of essays revolving around race, immigration, his parent’s divorce, family and queerness in the United States, Matt Ortile manages to tell stories that anyone who picks up “The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I’ve Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance ” will find something to relate to or learn about.

Ortile’s debut book is composed of a series of essays that explore multiple points throughout his teenage an
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Concepts like imperialism, colonialism, homophobia, xenophobia, and the model minority myth feel like grandiose ideas that only people with fancy humanities degrees from prestigious universities can discuss. Ortile breathes humanity into these -isms in his essay collection “The Groom Will Keep His Name.” Ortile shows the reader how a colonial mentality can affect romantic, personal, familial, and professional relationships.

Ortile writes about his desire for acceptance in America by dreaming of
Edward Grosskreuz
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Thank you so much, Matt Ortile, for this work! I can't recall the last novel that has moved me to think as much as this novel did. Each essay is a stand-out. What follows are my thoughts on the ones I found most memorable.

"Rice Queens, Dairy Queens" is a master study in labels. True, every community has its labels, its specialized groups. This essay made me think about how we all play into labels, oftentimes unknowingly. A former acquaintance once slapped one of these labels on me, and this
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Matt Ortile offers such a raw look into his life with "The Groom Will Keep His Name." He brings us into his stories of sex, heartbreak, racism, shame and so much more, providing a detailed look at his life as a queer brown millennial man, a queer Filipino man more specifically. His experiences may not be wholly unheard of, but they are undoubtedly unique to the written page, an industry that for so long, closed its gates to any stories that weren't white.

Ortile's book is so personal, but he mak
Nick DeFiesta
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a gay Filipino guy who moved from out west to New England for college, and am now living in Brooklyn — this really resonated. Never have I felt so seen, from sexual racism to the mixed feelings around a Filipino last name to the steam room hookups to the deep desire for love and the loneliness (maybe) of not having it (yet another book that's not great to read after a breakup!).

So while I loved the substance and the sense of connection, I felt like some of the essays repeated themes and ideas
This book was... difficult, and is even more difficult to rate.

In a series of (more or less auto-biographic) essays, Matt Ortile talks about his life, mostly in the US, as a queer immigrant.

And the US part was actually what alienated me most. I'm obviously neither brown nor a gay man, either, but especially how he describes the particular culture and expectations of his life in New York almost made me quit because it's so far from any reality I can imagine, and so pretentious that I can't imagin
Annika (whatannikareads)
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of essays from a gay filipino american immigrant. it was cool to actually resonate with an own voices author, being filipino, queer, and studying/working the field of journalism. i think the essays had a tendency to sort of lose its thesis towards the middle due to a long-winded explanation of a sub-anecdote/history lesson. i think it impacted the effectiveness of each essay a bit. but my favorite essay was "balikbayan" because it really hit home for me. i think it's a good lig ...more
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Matt Ortile is the author of The Groom Will Keep His Name, an essay collection about sex, power, and the model minority myth. He's also a MacDowell Colony Fellow and the managing editor of Catapult magazine. Previously, he was the global publishing lead for BuzzFeed International and the founding editor of BuzzFeed Philippines. He's written for BuzzFeed Reader, Into, Self, Out, and Details, among ...more

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This May, as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we wanted to take an opportunity to shine a light on some of the...
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“Unlearning the colonialism I was taught, the stories I've been told and I've told myself, is a daily practice, like learning a new language. You learn it by watching films, listening to the radio, reading books. Your ear gets attuned to it. You pick up the vocabulary, learn the system's grammar and mechanics. From there, you can understand and deconstruct it. Sure, learning a language is a solo task, but it helps to have conversation partners.” 4 likes
“Colonization works by cutting off peoples from their own heritage-be it traditions or languages, orthographies or names...They taught us Spanish for the same reason Americans taught us English: to homogenize colonial subjects under one tongue, one fist. ("You're in America," we're told-not only as immigrants to the US but as erstwhile property of the American empire. "Speak English.")” 1 likes
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