Baby Jesus Pawn Shop
The Permanent Press (2008)
Reviewed by Danielle Feliciano for Reader Views (2/09)
Lucia Orth is quite ambitious in her writing of “Baby Jesus Pawn Shop.” It can be extremely difficult to write a story with so much action detail, have it set in another country and not lose the reader. Orth’s ambition paid off. As I read “Baby Jesus Pawn Shop” I could very clearly imagine the environment Orth created and felt myself quickly become immersed in the story.
This story is that of the Philippines in the time of Ferdinand Marcos’ rule. The government is corrupt and the people are oppressed. All they have to keep them going are hope and memories. Rue Caldwell is an American living in the Philippines with her husband who quietly supports the regime. Rue slowly becomes aware of what she has so blatantly ignored. Her driver, Doming, is bent on revenge as he lives his life in an attempt to avenge the murder of his father by the government. He soon finds himself part of a plan to overthrow Marcos. As he struggles to find a way to take down Marcos without resorting to violence, Rue becomes more and more disgusted with how her husband and her country have reacted to the situation that is going on around her. As their world becomes more and more violent and unstable, Rue and Doming turn to each other for comfort and support.
“Baby Jesus Pawn Shop” by Lucia Orth is a tale of politics, conscience, betrayal and bravery. It is raw and real and incredibly thought-provoking. In a world that allows for us to stick our heads in the sand in regard to international politics, this book makes the reader realize that ignorance is not always bliss.