When Larry Henares tells the life story of the various personalities he encounters, he is at his best and at his wittiest. Taking off from his magnificent essay “Sunrise, sunset, swiftly go the years” on her daughter Elvira’s life as a student and as a bride in a previous book, he now speaks of his daughter as a clone of his mother and one of a kind, as she struggles to conquer her fear of failure. And oh, the true story of how Secretary Ting Jayme owes his place in history to The Big Sleep, falling asleep when Marcos was making a major policy speech, and sounding a clarion snore against tyranny and Martial Law. Of course when he writes of Miriam Defensor, he delves into her first night of honeymoon when her concept of zero population growth conflicted with her husband’s violent libido, even goes back to when she marched off her siblings in a single file to and from school. His description of Jose de Venecia as Yoda the Jedi Knight and Garfield the dog-hating cat, with eyebrows like quotation marks, and eye bags that look more like luggages, is irreverent but not insulting, driving Joe himself to self-deprecating laughter. But then best description is that of the head of the Council of Trent, “a sloping forehead, a bulbous nose trying to say hello to a weak receding chin, and occupying the space reserved for the mouth which is driven twisted to the side; a villainous convexity of a face, and a squint acquired from a lifetime habit of peering though darkened windows, preparatory to an act of thievery.” His “Mad Max, Blue Max, Beta Max” and “Max’s Fried Chicken, the little bird is dead” are masterpieces of satire that will live forever as the ultimate put-down, according to JV Cruz.
In the second part, “Perspectives,” he again vents his spleen and comic satire on the Opus Dei and Bernie Villegas, the CIA comic books, the Makati Business Club, the Americans at iba pa, and a specially informative essay on Sex Change operations.
You will be shocked, you will be delighted, you will be tickled to hysterical laughter.