Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz: A Book Review


It is my first time to have bought a book  written in Filipino at National Book Store despite that I find  its price ( 175 pesos )  pretty expensive  compared to the  books in Book Sale.  Usually, one of the reasons , aside from the fact that I am a certified bibliophile and bookworm, why  I  prefer to buy books written in English  is  to enhance my English skills in  my profession and desire to be a good writer  alike .  Eventually, without regret, I fell in love with  it ; its  essays  and stories are  solemnly  and deeply written  like   a deep well stored with the water that time had never fetched. Thus,  it is  realistic,  audacious;  and above all,  heart-rending .

I was impressed and moved by Genaro Gojo Cruz’ s “innocent” determination to pull through all the miserable  things he experienced , by how he managed to support and finish  his studies , by how he filled  his  vacuous self  despite  that he came from a broken family. Besides, I liked   his pesky innocence, typical of a boy bothered by this complicated world . You can relate to him if you really come from a poor family. While reading it, I remembered Frank McCourt’s trilogy  ( Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, and Teacher Man ) , ones of my all-time favorite books. Their life stories   have somehow complete resemblance.

Gojo Cruz has received Palanca Award twice for  his exceptional skills in writing children stories. I should not give him any shadows of  a doubt ; I liked his  writing styles. He  sounds like your  new friend telling you some stories- not just that they are  stories but meaningful and inspiring. I bet my life  that you would not get tired of him. In fact, I have this condition that he renders me unmoved in the air .  Then, I tend to blurt out, “Encore, I want to  read his other books more! “ ( Overwhelmed )

As a  matter of  fact, I hung back twice whether I  had to buy and read it or not  because its paperback designs  and  color are not that appealing to me . ( Well,  I did not mind it is  a YA after all.) It just looks like a children book. I  thought that I  would have just wasted  my money  contrary to what the superannuated  cliché goes, “ Don’t judge the  cover of a book.” In the end, this book turned out to be worth reading; it has something to do with the author’s life.

If I am not mistaken,  the pretext why  the  book cover’s color is  orange  is that it was once his  moniker ,  which is the  anagram of his name Genaro, whenever he traded names with his friends; whereas, the jeepney drawn in the middle part  was his father’s .

 If you are a book critic, you might be of the opinion that Genaro  may have intended  to  write  it with  “ paawa ( self-pity ) effect  just to be on the market and  see if  it would be  going  like  hotcakes.  (In fact, this may-have-been idea did the tricks ; the book seems to have been flying off the shelves since it was launched last year.  I can no longer see a large stack   in National Book  Store branches .  ) But in my humble opinion, Genaro is so brave that he was able to narrate his personal life  , especially since he is now a well-liked university professor  ( not that I know  of  ). It is not   so easy  that  you have to muster enough courage to share your bitter feelings you may be harboring for a long time and memories with others at all.  He must have intended  to do so but to inspire others , notably those children out there who have been dreaming of a prosperous life far from the  miserable  reality they are going through  as what happened to him.

I like Genaro’s philosophy that poverty is a downright hindrance to finishing your studies and dreams. It is downright wrong to believe that it is not at all. If so, how? The answer is simple :  follow  Genaro’s  principles of practicality. Besides, I agree to his another belief that IQ has nothing to do with a student’s capability to succeed; we all can reach our  potential. Be hard-working, persevering, and determined. Do not give up. Get a life as you know it is a matter of choice.

Now, I must be enamored with Gojo Cruz. ( Blushing) I am now kicking to buy and read other Filipino books more . Of course, I include his as one of the books I will follow enthusiastically.


On the verge of finishing it , Genaro happened to be my former  university classmate’s uncle. My classmate’s middle initial is also Gojo Cruz. I was more thrilled by this fact  when I remember   him  so proud to tell us about his uncle repeatedly. As a matter of fact, I have been to their place in Bulacan where Genaro  grew up. Then, I stayed in the place with my classmates for a project in Sociology for a few days. There I  saw the places as  well as his little house plus the private library  Genaro  mentioned in his book. However, I did not  see the well; it must be the artificial well  beside my classmate’s house where I washed my hands. What a small world! Now I have understood  my classmate’s personality. It runs in the family!  ^^

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It is amazing. )



  1. I really like the title of this book…the Tagalog part. This books sounds like something that I would read especially for the philosophical aspect. Although I do struggle in reading the Filipino this might be a bit of a hindrance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha No offense, honestly speaking, when I check your profile picture, you look like Filipino.Are you?
      Among Gojo Cruz’s books, this is the only one he wrote in Tagalog. May be someday it will be translated into Tagalog since it is a best-seller here. Then, I advise that you read it first before his other children books; you would understand why he wrote them. ^^

      Liked by 1 person

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