Patron Saints of Nothing

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

That’s not how stories work, is it? They are shifting things that re-form with each new telling, transform with each new teller. Less a solid, and more a liquid taking the shape of its container.

Jay is a Filipino-American teenager trying to figure out what he wants to do for his future- A high school senior undecided what to take for his university class, comfortable with the routine of hanging out with his friend and playing video games. Everything seems typical, boring even, until he hears news of his cousin Jun’s passing and learning that Jun’s death was a result of a drug war stirs something inside him. Jun is a nice guy, and he believes that his death is a mistake which prompts him to fly back to the Philippines to find out the truth.

Death is such a heavy topic. To die because of the drug war is heavier and I appreciate how the author conceived this piece to tell a story about family, religion, politics, and the need to find the truth. The novel for me was just okay. It has its highs and lows. Jay is an overall good guy who believes in Jun’s innocence but his journey to seek the answers and everything in between comes from a place of privilege.

It’s hard to read something that resonates with the reality you’re currently living in. There are so many things that feels right and wrong about the story that it feels confusing to properly express it without this post becoming too long. This novel barely scratched the surface about the intricacies of politics but I hope it made someone apathetic wake up from their comfortable life and be informed.

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