Book Review: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay


Young Adult > Contemporary > Filipino

Andi hasn’t seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.

Literary Awards: Filipino Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Novel in English (2012)


…Oh, wow. What a heartwarming, feel-good book 🙂

Family is very, very important. Would you agree? The sole reason that I do not want to work abroad is that, I do not want to be separated from my better half, my toddler son, and my “senior citizen” parents. I want to be with my best friend as we grow together in our married life. I want to be here when my son grows up. I want to be here for whatever number of years my parents have left before they retire to the afterlife. And so, Tall Story having centered on a Filipino family, here and abroad, pricked me, and that made it so dear to me.

I understood Nardo. Longing for a mom who’s halfway around the world with his little sister. Constantly anxious over the townspeople’s belief that he is their hero. Awkward over his gigantism. When his immigration papers came, suddenly living in London with his family is not a far-fetched idea. But the people of San Andres will not let him go, for fear of catastrophe hitting them once their hero leaves. And so Nardo’s blackouts began.

I understood Andi, too. The jealousy over a brother that her mom probably loved more than her. The determination to own something for herself through her basketball skills. and the incredulity of how being a girl limits her from reaching her dreams.

How Candy Gourlay reflected Filipino family virtues through the characters was really nice. Andi’s disdain for his brother was not prolonged, and so did Nardo’s despair. The common destroyers (sibling rivalry, parent-child separation, overworked parents) of a family was kept at a minimum, thereby keeping the lightness of the story intact.

I love Jabby (well, minus the freak show incident). And that scene where he’s calling for help? Creepy. Because I know that happens, like all the time.

I did not like Nardo’s mom, though. What kind of a mother discourages her daughter’s dreams because of her height, or thinks there is something wrong about her son, and be ashamed about it? Grrr.

Tall Story is a favorite. Something about it is hopeful, and it has a certain degree of kindness we can all benefit from, once in a while.

Goodreads – The Filipino Group Book of the Month (August)


TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay

Paperback, 233 pages

Published May 2010 by PCacho Publishing House

5/5 stars


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

  1. Pingback: TFG’s Book of the Month for August: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay | Book Rhapsody

  2. Sounds like this was one kids book which really grabbed your heart strings and tugged! 🙂 Glad you thought there was something really special about it, those are the best kinds of stories, the ones which we can relate to immediately!

  3. Pingback: Elated: Best Reads of 2013 | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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