Published by Little A on May 1, 2018
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.
Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.
In this remarkable ode to survival, Cinelle creates something magical out of her truth—underscored by her complicated relationship with her mother. Through a tangle of tragedy and betrayal emerges a revelatory journey of perseverance and strength, of grit and beauty, and of coming to terms with the price of family—and what it takes to grow up.
Let me just say, I have never read a nonfiction book before, much less alone a memoir so I found myself a little hesitant when it came into dipping my toes into this book.
I liked the blurb and was pleasantly surprised that I found myself enjoying this book.
Monsoon Mansion is a memoir written by Cinelle Barnes in a form of fictional novelization. It follows Cinelle as a child living in a mansion in the Philippines and the rise and fall of her family. The writing was beautiful, the storytelling was well done and easy to follow since it read differently, I almost forgot at times that the book was based on recounts of Cinelle’s actual life. I got lost instantly and really sympathized for the little girl in the story and what she had to go through when everything around her came falling apart. Cinelle went from being rich to poor and the adjustments she had to make to her life by herself at the absents of her mother was really heartbreaking to read about. I found myself angry at her mother on many occasions, but joyful that Cinelle managed to make it out here and tell her story and share the beautiful writing with us.
Cinelle Barnes really knows how to write and I hope that one day she branches out into the world of fiction because I most definitely want to read