Jenny's Reviews > Dogeaters

Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn
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's review
Oct 20, 2007

liked it

This is another book I read for my Asian-American lit class that I wouldn't have read if it hadn't been assigned, and if I had read it, I likely wouldn't have finished it because I found the writing style off-putting. It's very fast, jarring, jolting, MTV generation kind of thing. The perspective shifts from chapter to chapter. One chapter is first person, the next third. You are thrown into the lives of seemingly unrelated people from differing classes, and it's over-stimulating and fast. You don't always know what's going on, it's chaos, everyone is using everyone else, peppered with pop culture references from the time. You get multiple characters' perspectives -- you don't always know what to believe or who you can trust.

That said, I did feel like the novel threw me into "post-colonial" Manila, Phillipines -- it takes place in different periods but I guess a lot of it takes place in the '70s during the dictatorship of that time. I felt like I got a real flavor for that experience, and I am very glad for that.

Seems to be a lot about the culture created by the corrupt ruling elite and shows how imperialism still structured people's lives and minds through pop culture. It seems to champion people living on the society's margins -- and tries to tell their stories. It's very kaleidoscopic and depicts a lot of horror and toxic suffering going on in various people's lives.

I enjoyed the last half much better than the first. The plot got very engrossing and I found various things moving. After having finished it I can say I'm very glad I read it. I feel like I learned a lot about this author's take on the "dog-eat-dog," power-lusty world in Manila evoked. I feel like I learned a lot. But it's not really my kind of book. Still, glad I read it.
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