Foreword Reviews

Finding Me

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

The memoir Finding Me includes accounts of hardship, hope, and success that work toward a spiritual affirmation.

Inocencia Tupas Malunes’s uplifting memoir Finding Me concerns her support of her far-flung family and how she discovered deeper personal meaning.

Malunes grew up on a farm in the Philippines. When she was young, her mother decided to send her away so that she could have a better life. Distraught, Malunes jumped in the ocean. In exchange for not sending her away, Malunes promised her mother that she would always be there to help her. Even after her mother’s death, this promise drove her choices.

Heartrending stories of survival include the fact that Malunes and her siblings all earned money to support their family. Malunes raised pigs to sell and cared for smaller children. When a teenager, she managed a restaurant in a nearby city. Later, she worked in a factory processing food. After years of work, she emigrated to Canada and found a housekeeping job in a fancy hotel. Descriptions of these jobs are terse; still, it’s clear that they involved backbreaking work. Malunes narrates without complaint, finding the good in everyone she meets. All the while, to fulfill her promise to her mother, she sent money home to her family.

The book is organized chronologically, and moves from job to job, friendship to friendship, though some anecdotes are without helpful details. For example: Malunes meets Fermin, and after many years of a long-distance friendship, they buy property in Vancouver, where they live together in a curious but unspecified arrangement. Her siblings marry and have children; Malunes remains single and childless, declaring, “I come here to work, not to find friends.”

Interspersed among Malunes’s accounts of her daily activities are paragraphs reflecting on the possibility that a higher power resides inside of her, guiding her toward an unknown truth. The first of these philosophical interludes, addressed to her “dear younger brothers and sisters who happen to have this book,” is jarring, but as the reflections repeat, they become a hopeful running commentary on the events of Malunes’s story. These punctuations of openhearted reflection offer sweet reassurances that all people are part of a higher plan.

Every event receives equal weight in Malunes’s stream-of-consciousness account. With tireless optimism, Malunes describes how, despite hardships, she accepted events as they came, never losing her equanimity and faith. As the story progresses, moments of self-awareness emerge, leading Malunes to question her life purpose as a helper. She channels a believable spiritual philosophy that “connects the dots” of her story. Her optimism emerges through raw language spoken in the present tense, as if events were happening in the moment. At times, the language resembles poetry.

The memoir Finding Me includes accounts of hardship, hope, and success that work toward a spiritual affirmation.

Reviewed by Carol Booton

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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