Thirty-seven years after its initial publication, the author of one of the most widely read books about the Chamorro experience during the second world war has revisited the story that not only taught him about his history, but brought him home.
Chris Perez Howard was only a toddler when the first Japanese plane cut through Guam’s sky. During the following four years, he was under the care of a mother who he could only remember through his memories of being held and nurtured because she was eventually killed near the end of the war.
After spending decades growing up in his father’s home state of Indiana, Howard felt the need to trace his steps to not only learn the story of his mother – but himself – through writing a book called “Mariquita.”
Titled in his mother’s namesake, Mariquita follows the story of his mother’s experience before, during, and after the war.
Describing the novel as the most difficult project he’s ever undertaken, Howard has published a revised edition called “Mariquita – Revisited” which now features more details, photos, and actual letters written by Mariquita and her loved ones.
During his research for the book, Howard came across an interview with a magazine that gave him an idea of what kind of person his mother was.
“She was also very vocal in questioning why civics weren’t taught in school. She saw already at that time there was a difference. In my own activism, I’m voicing similar things that she voiced a long time ago,” Howard said.
With this being the final version of Mariquita’s story, Howard hopes to encourage his readers to not only reflect about their identity, but to learn the stories of those who came before them.
Which is why the proceeds made from the on the sale of the novel will be used to publish a collection of novels about the Chamorro experience titled, “The Mariquita Novel Series.”
“No more. A finished product. Nothing else has to be done to it. And I’m so happy it’s finished,” Howard said.
The book will be launched on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Guam’s Micronesia Area Research Center.