A month ago, someone reached out to me and asked if I am interested to read this novel about General Douglas MacArthur. Without batting an eye, I immediately said yes.
I know some of you may find it strange since politics or even historical war stories are often my least favorite topics. In fact, I barely mentioned those here in the blog or my social media accounts.
So, what makes this book different? For starters, General MacArthur was a mainstay in my history subjects from grade school to high school. Having spent my early years in the Philippines, he was probably THE most famous American in the country.
My MacArthur: A Novel by Cindy Fazzi which is a fictional account of the General’s love affair with Isabel Rosario Cooper made me really curious. While MacArthur’s life was very much documented both in American and Philippine history books, this was the first time I heard about Isabel, the Filipina who captured the “big guy’s heart” during the time when race and status were a big issue.
A trip back home
I had scheduled a trip to the Philippines during the book’s official release last November 5th. While I had the chance to read the book ahead of time, I decided to read it in the plane. What more could be more fitting right?
Anyway, the book was my best company during my 14-hour flight. I can’t put the book down at all.
About the Book
During the 1930’s in Manila, Douglas MacArthur is the most powerful man in the Philippines, a US colony. He’s fifty years old, divorced, and falls in love with a young Filipino woman and aspiring actress, Isabel Rosario Cooper.
While MacArthur is as old as Isabel’s father (an American too), both had instant connection. In fact, the Commander was so smitten that he pursues his romantic obsession even though he’s breaking numerous taboos. She, reciprocates his affection because he could open doors for her financially struggling family.
After being appointed the US Army Chief of Staff and becoming one of America’s most powerful me, MacArthur takes Isabel with him to America without marrying her.
In spite of the Great Depression, MacArthur and Isabel’s relationship persists. In 1934, after four years of relationship, the General leaves her out of fear of a political scandal.
MacArthur goes on to become the iconic hero of World War II while Isabel drifts in Los Angeles unable to muster the courage to return to Manila. As he ascends to his special place in American history, she plunges into a dark place, ultimately meeting a tragic death.
As I mentioned early, My MacArthur: A Novel is one of those books I simply can’t put down. Fazzi’s style is direct and relaxed. If you like an easy beach read, this is definitely in that category.
Throughout the book, there are some Tagalog and Spanish words. Particularly, expressions often used during that era. It was really nice that the translations are written right next to the phrase. No need for footnotes or glossary.
While the story’s setting is in the 1930’s, the author focused more on the character’s emotions which makes the novel relatable. MacArthur and Isabel’s struggles and choice predicaments were timeless and was readily felt.
Romance wise, I sensed the author’s restraint or hesitance to elaborate particularly on intimate details. For me, this is quite unusual especially for a female writer to be this straightforward and lack of words.
With very little information about Isabel Cooper in real life, I appreciate the author’s effort to gather as much data as needed to make this story interesting and close to reality as possible. Her way of story telling not only captured my attention but also enticed me to make my own research on Isabel.
A movie based on this book is something I will look forward too.
Do you like to get a hard copy of My MacArthur the Novel?
Well, here’s a little treat. The author agreed to give a copy to one lucky US reader. Simply do the steps below to get free entries.
Hurry! The giveaway will end on Nov. 22, 2018 11:59 pm EST.
(Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.)
Sounds like a book I would be interested in. I like non-fiction and I am interested in filipino history since I’m half-Filipina!
I love that you saved the book for the plane ride! I love to read on planes or any books that have relevance to where I’m visiting. It normally wouldn’t be my first pick, but this review is awesome!
This sounds like a good read! I really need to start reading again. I will have to pick this book up
This sounds like a great book and it’s nice that you’re doing a giveaway of it.
I love a good book! I’d love to read this one, thanks so much for the thorough review!
Sounds like an interesting book, and I’m always on the lookout for that kind of thing. Thanks for the great review!
So nice to hear MY MACARTHUR kept you company during your 14-hour flight to the Philippines! Thanks so much for your review. Most of all, thanks for your blog. I met a writer with a similar experience. I never realized the impact of a child’s food allergies on the entire family. It was quite an eye-opener. Kudos and more power to you and your blog!