For the (not too many) regular visitors of this blog, it is evident that non-fiction books are not a constant staple on my plate. When I read the title of this book, however, I immediately signed up for the scheduled blog tour, because of two words that caught my interest: Filipina and Mother.
It is no secret that I am currently trying to read as many local books as I can. Upon learning that the author is a full-blood Filipina, being born to Filipino parents, I knew that I had to read this book. And since I am a (struggling) new mom, I figured that this book would also contain tips which would be of great use to me.
Don’t Forget The Soap turned out to be a very enjoyable and insightful read. Marie Claire Lim Moore writes simply and candidly, never mincing words as to her being old-fashioned or to the fact that she comments excessively or that she is a sucker for TV shows.
My initial expectation of the book was that I thought this would be a typical listing of the do’s and don’ts of life. I got this cue from the title which says that the book contains reminders from the author’s mothers. Indeed, Don’t Forget The Soap contains do’s and don’ts but it also contains how-to’s. However, what makes the book more appealing is that the reminders were presented through anecdotes which are usually humorous or embarrassing and not just mere enumerations or listings (although there are several lists here but not without its corresponding relevant tale). And there are photos, too, which offered a glimpse into the lives of the Lims. It would have been lovelier if the photos came with color. 😀
It is easy to admire the author and her family. More than their achievements and the fact that they had been to too many places together (they had lived in New York!), I admire them for their closeness as a family. It is not common to see families who are able to maintain the kind of closeness the Lims have despite their being immigrants and for the author and her brother to maintain the kind of respect and high regard that they have towards their parents. The set of values that the author espouses is very admirable. Indeed, the author and her family are blessed abundantly, but more than being blessed, they have shown that they are blessed more, they are also willing to give more.
I must admit that there are things in the book which I couldn’t fully relate to (e.g. the American TV shows, various places in New York) but the tips and lessons mentioned in the book were wise and made perfect sense. Some of the reminders that really stuck to me are about always keeping a balance and giving importance to the persons close to you. And then, of course, there’s the good cop, bad cop parenting style which really provided a lot of insights to me on how to deal with and discipline my own children.
If I were have to describe Don’t Forget The Soap in a statement, it would be this simple: Of all the things in life, maintaining good relationships are, and always will be, important. And that is a statement I will never argue against.
“My case is based on universally agreed upon premises. What’s the basis for your argument?” I had asked.
“The basis is I’m your mother. That tone may work with your classmates at Yale but you will never win that way with me.” (p. 125)
My copy: paperback from the author (thank you!)
At the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”
Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.
Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore. | Twitter