Journey to the Beginning: A True Story

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“My name is Maria Almia, a mystical child, whose name is a peculiar combination of my parent’s names-Calvin and Maxima, two people drawn to each other in the midst of the chaos of war and violence. I carry in my soul their hopes and dreams that transcend culture time and place…” Thus Maria Almia introduces her memoir, which focuses on the relentless hunger for connection that fueled a tireless search for the father she had never known.

As Maria Almia tells her story, we meet her husband and her children; participate in her ordinary life, the struggles of her early marriage, pressures and delights of young children with two working parents, and the sometimes subtle, sometime blatant racism experienced by women and men of color even in 1970’s American society.

Maria Almia earned her nursing degree in the Philippines then immigrated to America. She met and married her husband, Ruben, who was a physician starting a private practice. This memoir traces their efforts to design and build a life of prosperity: nicer homes for their four children, more education, and more friendships. But this memoir is mostly about the fault line in Maria Almia’s heart that prevents her from the self acceptance and security she craved: the fault line is the fact that her father was an American soldier stationed in the Philippines during World War II: a soldier who loved her mother, conceived Maria, and then returned stateside without another word. A sense of abandonment and loss of identity haunted Maria Almia for decades and ultimately her life began to unravel. She knew she had to find her father and try to make a familial connection.

This memoir is a combination of casual and serious in presentation. Mrs. de los Santos creates drama, tension, and suspense that draw the reader into her story. She shares details of her own emotional weaknesses, fights with her husband, and painful dynamics with her growing children. Her triumphs and failures are all included, and communicated with the tone, structure and open warmth of a kitchen table conversation. The epilogue includes family photos that ground the story in real life and provide a personal connection to the characters she invites us to know.

Maria Almia wants to share her own journey in hopes of making a larger point about social shadows, cross cultural experiences, personal tragedies and spiritual triumphs. I recommend this book particularly to individuals with similar trials who seek support for a more enriched life.


Reviewed By:

Author Almia de los Santos
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 92 pages
Publisher Xlibris
Publish Date 28-Jul-2011
ISBN 9781453538005
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2011
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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