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Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#1 by ananya92
» 10 May 2017, 11:05

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Somewhere the Sun is Shining" by Alexis R. Strong.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by ananya92
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Somewhere the Sun is Shining: Look for the Silver Lining by Alexis Strong and Norma Strong is a book in the non-fiction genre. This book is an autobiographical account about what transpired in the authors’ lives during the World War II. This novel majorly focuses on Alexis’ story, with his wife, Norma’s, memoirs interspersed throughout the book.

Alexis is eleven years old when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and the USA officially enters the war. The Japanese quickly follow-up this bombing with attacks on almost all Southeast Asian countries, including Philippines. Alexis and his family were living in a rubber plantation in the island of Basilan, when the war reached their shores. Alexis’ story starts at this point and narrates how he and his family survive the next four years of Japanese occupation, how they are liberated by American forces, and how Philippines eventually becomes an independent nation.

The author’s writing style is something I have rarely come across. The first feature that impressed me was the interesting timeline/contents page of the book. The author combines the political event with an experience from his life; such as, a section is titled as 'Manila declared an open city. This was the last radio broadcast we received since our battery ran out and there was no way of charging them.' I thought this was illustrative of how human memories are recorded; we often remember and connect important public events with what we were doing at that particular point of time.

There are other aspects as well, which make the narration interesting. The author supplements his recollections liberally with pictures, which add to the vivid nature of his account. The author also provides plenty of information, for example about combat operations, through videos and other websites, whose links have been attached in the main body of the book itself. The author covers a variety of episodes from his life, and often there are flashbacks within a flashback, contrasting the happier times with the misery prevailing during war.

In addition to the story of the harrowing experience of war and Japanese occupation, there is something extra in this record, which holds the attention of the reader. What makes the author’s storytelling fascinating are the practical realities of war described in the book. For instance, how people had to rely on herbal medicine as no proper medication was available, or how the author found it strange that trucks that were part of his father’s business were now loaded with weapons and enemy soldiers, or how the author and his relatives had to eat sautéed locusts once, the very same locusts which destroyed their cornfields earlier.

This personalized, frank chronicle relays the joys, sorrows, and hope of the Filipino people during such trying times. One particular incident where the author and his friends take a huge risk, to steal the torn fragments of the American flag right under the nose of the Japanese army, is symbolic of the aspiration for freedom. My only disappointment was the grammatical errors, which could have been easily avoided with proper editing. Readers, who are interested in reading a piece of Philippines’ history in the voice of a common person, would definitely like this one. I rate this one 3 out of 4 stars.

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Somewhere the Sun is Shining
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 11 May 2017, 07:31

I like that this is a memoir based on someone's memory of war. It's fascinating to read about wars and the effect that they have on people's lives. The narration in this book sounds very intriguing and will leave many readers enthralled.

Great Review! 💜
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#3 by kandscreeley
» 11 May 2017, 08:00

I love that the author connects the events going on in the world with what he was experiencing at the time. Sounds like a great way to write the book. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#4 by Maryjane
» 11 May 2017, 09:40

The storyline is something I've never read or heard of before. It touches the soul and captivates the heart. I love the way the author carries the readers along. It's a fantastic book.
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#5 by Chrys Brobbey
» 11 May 2017, 13:38

"Somewhere the Sun is Shining: Look for the Silver Lining." I like the title - even in war, the author sees a silver lining. Yes, in every situation, there could be a silver lining - if only we could look for the positives. I like the review, as well. Thanks.
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#6 by ananya92
» 12 May 2017, 23:24

Thank you all! :)
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#7 by kimmyschemy06
» 18 May 2017, 23:47

Sounds like a very interesting account of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and as a Filipina myself, I think I will like it even more. Good job on the review.
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#8 by ananya92
» 19 May 2017, 07:49

Thank you :)
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#9 by Jaime Lync
» 20 May 2017, 20:10

I love reading about history like this. Sad that the grammatical errors caused this a star off your review. Great review though.
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Re: Official Review: Somewhere the Sun is Shining

Post Number:#10 by ananya92
» 20 May 2017, 22:35

Thanks!
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