DIPLO READS: Trail of Crumbs

I was immediately drawn to this book in the store because of the sub-title: “hunger, love and the search for home.” I don’t know if this book is for everyone because not everyone might be able to relate to Kim Sunee’s hunger and search for home. For example, I was surprised to learn that I have friends who cannot relate to the Elizabeth Gilbert’s anguish and longings in Eat Pray Love. They found Gilbert too annoying and too whiny. I respect their opinions, though it took me by surprised so I thought about it for a while and it really hit home that books which might call to me will not ring true for others. And perhaps these friends of mine have never gone through a similar experience as Elizabeth Gilbert’s so they are unable to relate to it. The very same thing might be true for Kim Sunee… I don’t know but it definitely touched something deep for me. The morning I finished reading it I cried.

trail of crumbs book

*I wrote this review two years ago in 2011, but I felt like it was too personal to share. I still do, but I will press the publish button because brave authors like Kim Sunee deserve brave readers. 

I know I don’t have any reason to cry. I live a blessed life…but it hasn’t always been this way. No life is purely filled with joy and there are ups and downs.

I am lucky (just like Kim Sunee) that when my mother couldn’t take care of me, my paternal grandparents took me in. But just like Kim Sunee, I was always told I was lucky that someone took me in. This was repeated to me throughout my life. I should be grateful that people took care of me despite not being their daughter. I am grateful. But ask yourself, do your parent always tell you that you are so lucky that they are willing to take care of you and support you? That they didn’t really have to but out of their generosity, they brought you up? I don’t think so. Though  there are children that would do well to be reminded that they should be more appreciative of their parents… And to not take them for granted.

The psychological impact of this to me is that I spent my life trying to prove my worth. I did this many times to my detriment. I grew up placing myself in situations that far from honored me because I didn’t feel like I deserved any better. And going through Kim Sunee’s journey in her book… reminded me of all these experiences. Though I am happy now and am blessed to have a loving husband who loves me exactly for all the things that people thought was weird or “too intense” about me, I will always have those (visible and invisible) scars of past wounds. And somewhere deep down there is still a shadow of an insecure little child that would be so overcome by fear that I’d literally get sick before classes – I was that afraid to see the other children. Every day until 4th grade, my guardian would have to accompany me to class after getting sick in the bathroom.

So beautiful I could cry…

I admire Kim Sunee for sharing with her experiences. I can’t imagine writing my exact experiences for the entire world to read (and judge) but maybe if I wrote as beautifully as her, I would. Many describe her memoir as bittersweet. She writes her pain and sorrow beautifully. The word “exquisite” comes to mind. Her pain, fear and sorrow are expressed with such beautiful imagery and sensuous words – her book entices the senses! I could almost feel, hear, taste and smell it!

Her writing was poetry to me, her words tantalising to read. And to tie it all up with her passion for food – she shares the recipe of the food that she associates with her memories on each chapter (hence the title Trail of Crumbs) – makes this book something that I will definitely be coming back to.  One day we will be posted in Europe and I will make her Wild Peaches poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena and think of Kim Sunee.

Perhaps one day I will also write as beautifully as her and be able to tell my story as lusciously in a book. But for now, this blog will have to do. And the past must stay in the pages of my old journals.

I realize how funny life is that I am now the wife of a diplomat. I went back and forth between Mindanao and Manila my whole life, and I never felt like I belonged anywhere. My father has his own family, while my mother is a stranger I see every decade or so. And my grandmother, who will always be my one and only mother, will never understand my generation but will love me anyway from the distance of the generational gap and provincial culture. Somehow it feels that maybe this was the life I was meant to live, just as my husband who grew up as a diplomatic brat (yes that is their term for children of diplomats)  - this nomadic life seems to fit. Every few years we uproot ourselves and make new friends. Never really staying long enough, but keeping our relationships despite the short time and throughout the distance. My life is now a reflection of how I’ve always felt.

After reading the book I wanted to know how Kim Sunee was. Now proabably starting her 40′s. To know if she ever got her “happy ever after” and found this interview.




Kim Sunee’s website, facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram

Lovely comments

  1. Joy says

    DW, thank you for having the courage to share your background and your impressions of the book. I was really moved to hear about all that you went through when you were younger, to get to where you are today.

  2. says

    I love what you said that brave writers need brave readers :-) I remember seeing you in Grade 1 always being accompanied by Tita Nono to class. Have you found your home? I have been mulling over the same thought – at least of home – and true, home evokes memories of food! At least for me hehe! Can’t wait for our Skype date love! *hugs*

  3. E says

    A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, TDW, one that must have been difficult to write in parts. It is always surprising what people will say to children not raised in what many would consider “traditional” circumstances. I’ve probably been guilty of the same level of presumptuousness…sigh… It does sound like your experiences as a child prepared you for this current more transient lifestyle, but thankfully, in the current context, it isn’t so much about not belonging anywhere, but being able to be at home in many different places.

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