Tamar H, Reviewer
Syjuco's expose of torrid love affairs, backstabbing, betrayals, and corruption got much deeper than I expected. Yes there are stories of the salacious recollections and portrayals of lurid details within a political sphere; there is slander, an impeachment hearing, but we also get to piece together a portrait of a heaving society and how these particular relationships shaped the effervescent Vita Nova. Vita herself is nothing if not a fighter; she knows where she ahs come from, what she's done, and what she had to overcome and find her voice to speak out against. She acknowledges that she is constantly growing into feminism, learning and unlearning, sorting through the noise and haze of a religio-patriarchal society. The interviews of the characters are where we get everything that content warning page listed. But the author has done it in such a way that invites discussions and constructive confrontations of the sexism, misogyny, prejudice, racism that comes out over the course of data collection. What was also striking was the use of multiple narrators and perspectives used to tell this story. This engendered feelings of doubt and mistrust in the reader, who now must use what was presented, to build an accurate or as close to accurate as possible representation of, the person, the stagings, and the relationships of Vita Nova. I was entertained as well as struck by the many ways in which our reality came through in this book, the ways in which women are belittled, how politicians lie and steal, how the very source from which we seek safety can be where we are violated, and how through all of these experiences we grow and find a platform from which to be a representative for those less fortunate.