‘Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories’ is a book written by a Chamorro author, Tanya Chargualaf Taimanglo. It’s a compilation of 13 narratives, all of which describe the reality of life in Micronesia.
In beautiful Guam, just like everywhere else in the world, people are in search of love, acceptance, and happiness. Only a few are lucky enough to find it. Those who do not succeed try again, or give up, or simply leave the island hoping for a pot of gold in a ‘better’ world. Although at first glance it may seem that they have nothing in common with each other, a very strong bond exists between them. It’s their Chamorro culture. Some of the characters discover it anew, others want to leave it far behind. Some of them appreciate their heritage, others try to reconcile it with modernity. As they deal with everyday problems, they learn the true meaning of life, which – despite many obstacles – is a wonderful thing.
This compilation is something you will want to come back to the minute you finish reading it. ‘Why?’ you may ask. Well, first of all, it is simply enjoyable. The highly engaging and compelling tales are both magical and realistic, charming and intriguing, poignant and amusing. This is the kind of book that draws you in from the very first page and keeps you wanting more until you reach the last sentence.
Second of all, it’s widely known that obvious truths tend to be easily forgotten, so it’s important to be reminded of them from time to time. And this is exactly what Tanya does. Her thought-provoking words help you realize what really matters in life – your inner happiness, your family, your loved ones, your friends, a place you can call ‘home’. The rest… Well, the rest you can live without, even if you still think otherwise.
In addition to being thought-provoking, the narratives are also extremely encouraging – they give hope and let you build your inner strength. As the stories present universal themes, everyone can relate to them. The truth is, you don’t have to be Chamorro to understand the hidden message of each tale.
Now, the volume may be full of unexpected pearls of wisdom, but it definitely cannot be treated as a motivational publication – it is nothing like that. The principal focus of this collection is…the island of Guam. While immersing yourself in the characters’ personal experiences, you’ll get a chance to learn quite a bit about Chamorro culture, which, I must say, is absolutely fascinating. But bear in mind that you won’t read much about ancient customs or practices. Instead, you will observe how people – emigrants as well as those still living in the country – try to adapt to this fast-changing world without compromising their traditional lifestyle. And, believe me, it’s the most valuable insight you can get.
As you may (or may not) expect, the book is also beautifully written. The author is a former English teacher and that can be noticed quite easily. Vivid imagery changes the words into thousands of pictures that appear in your mind, unlocking your imagination. Suddenly you are transferred to a different place, far away from home, where the youngs and olds share their incredible stories with you.
If you have ever searched for a book that would teach, inspire, and entertain, you’ve just found it. ‘Attitude 13’ is a thoroughly wonderful read – something you will not regret buying.