CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD: PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WRITER CALIFORNIA CEBU
WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT
by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
First published in the Philippines as Song of Yvonne. Published in hardcover by Dutton in 1994, and in paperback by Plume in 1995, and now available from the University of Michigan Press.
Turkish Edition: Gokkusagi Tanricasi Agladigunda (Turkish edition of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept), Bilge Kultur Sanat, translated by Fusun Talay, 2001
This highly-acclaimed novel, set in mythical Ubec, Philippines during World War II, is a lyrical portrayal of a girl's blossoming into young womanhood. Publishers Weekly notes that "the strengthening of the national spirit; the loss of innocence in two generations -- these themes are explored by the author... with persuasive conviction and stark realism.
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Summary of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept:When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor Michigan: 1999
"We had all experienced a story
that needed to be told, that needed
never to be forgotten." (216)
When the Rainbow Goddess Wept is this story - the story of not only Yvonne
Macaraig and her family during WWII; but also the larger story of the
Filipino people and their wartime bravery - all seen through the young eyes
of Yvonne. Before the war, Yvonne's life was ideal. Her cousin Esperanza
was also her best friend; the family cook, Laydan, told her the most amazing
stories about Filipino warrior women, and she adored her father, an engineering
professor. This ideal life is soon torn asunder when the Japanese
invade the Philippines and Yvonne and her family flee to the relative safety
of the countryside. Yvonne is devastated when her whole family does not
stay together, as her aunt, cousin, and grandfather stay behind in Ubec.
Yvonne and her family retreat further and further into the countryside as
they try desperately to stay at least one step ahead of the Japanese. Yvonne,
in order to deal with the wartime horrors that surround her, clings to Laydan
and those stories she tells from Filipino folklore about the warrior women.
These stories give Yvonne the courage she needs to face the losses that war
brings to her family and to her country. Yvonne, like the Philippines itself,
emerges stronger for her trials in this unique coming of age story.
Discussion Questions:When the Rainbow Goddess Wept
1. What is the effect of the story being told from the perspective of a
child? How would it be different if an adult served as the narrator?
2. Why do the traditional legends and stories mean so much to
3. What is the role of women in Filipino society at this time? How do
the main female characters fulfill and defy societal expectations?
4. What parts do religion, superstitions and faith play in the lives of
the Filipinos in the story?
5. How would you describe the various characters’ attitudes toward
America and Americans? Do these opinions change as the war
6. In what ways were Yvonne’s and her family’s wartime experience
similar to what others in different countries experienced during
WWII? In what ways was the Filipinos’ experience during the war
7. How are Yvonne and her family changed by the war? How is the
8. Does the book leave the reader with a sense of hope, despite all the
hardships that the characters had to endure?
9. Why did the author choose the myth of the Rainbow Goddess for
the title of her book?
10. Why is it important for a culture to preserve its legends and
"Interweaves realistic events with myths of women fighters and goddesses, as well as fantastic dreams...Brainard's appealing characters are larger than life, people who change before our eyes, yet remain utterly convincing....A fast-paced, sensitively written first novel." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The strengthening of the national spirit; the loss of innocence in two generations - these themes are explored by the author, who was born in the Philippines, with persuasive conviction and stark realism." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stories of war are perhaps most compelling when told through the eyes of children, whose innocence is always so tragically incongruous to the adult madness that rages around them. "When the Rainbow Goddess Wept," a first novel by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard that chronicles the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, is no exception." (Los Angeles Times)
"Enchanting throughout, this novel will mesmerize the reader right up until its victorious ending." (Booklist)
"With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard has given us a deeply moving novel of a young girl's coming of age in the Japanese-occupied Philippines of the Second World War...Steeped in an Asian culture's colorful and healing mythology, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept is destined to become a classic." (Aram Saroyan, author of The Street and Friends in the World: The Education of a Writer)
CLICK BELOW FOR BOOK REVIEWS OF WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT.
Kirkus Review - July 1, 1994
BOOKLIST - September 1, 1994
LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW - Tuesday, November 15, 1994
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - August 16, 1994
Ruth S. Rimado's thesis Paper on When the Rainbow Goddess Wept - 2006
Francis Abao's Paper, Rewriting the Bildungsroman: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's When the Rainbow Goddess Wept
YouTube Book Trailer "Wallenberg When the Rainbow Goddes Wept Theme Project"
YouTube Reading from When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Brainard
A signed hardbound First
Edition copy of this book can be ordered from
Philippine American Literary House
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