This newest book of Dan Brown doesn’t straightly follow the Dan Brown formula, which makes it unpredictable, or even makes its readers paranoid, making you wonder if you should trust anyone in the story, including Robert Langdon himself.
It’s very informative about Dante, Florence and other Italian art stuff, without being boring. The thrill is good too and the point of view of the villain is understandable, albeit correct if humans just have “all logic, no heart”.
Overpopulation is the main theme of the book and anyone who lives on earth will surely be able to relate.
Book’s Inaccuracy About Manila
Manila, Philippines is the setting of an important event in it. I don’t know if I should find Dan Brown’s stereotypical writing offensive or funny. So far I’m going for the latter.
The character in the book said she hadn’t seen poverty on such scale, and I can only think “Perhaps you’re spending too much time in Italy.”
While the information in the book about Manila can be true, the whole Manila isn’t like that. Like any city, Manila has both its good and bad side. Not all people living in Manila are poor. Child prostitution is rare, if not non-existent.
And the reason why Manila is densely populated is not because of poverty alone (although that can be a factor), but because many people from province go to Manila, knowing that the busiest city in the Philippines has most of the jobs in the country. It should be noted too that the provinces in the Philippines have very few people due to this.
For Story Reasons
It is understandable though why Dan Brown wrote about Manila as if it’s such a very bad place. Like any art, sometimes facts are twisted in order to serve the purpose of the story, and in Brown’s book, he needed to highlight how overpopulation can make people so poor and do horrible things.
And who can blame foreigners to think that Philippines is so poor when many Filipino indie film makers joining international events resort to making poverty porn about the Philippines, as if being poor is something to be proud of, and as if poverty is the only thing we have?
Despite this, I wouldn’t let Sienna say “Like I said, denial.” I wouldn’t deny that Philippines also have population problem. I hope the government and the Department of Health (DOH) would do something that can help solve this.
Despite this, I would still recommend this book to everyone.
If you want a good thrill, if you want to learn some passages from Dante’s Inferno, if you want to travel to Italy through words, if you want to know what the villain did to combat overpopulation in this sci-fi book, if you want to know how to fight depression, this book is for you.
MMDA wrote a letter to Mr. Dan Brown about this. It’s a nice letter and I can’t wait for the author to reply.
Additional opinion: Dan Brown researches a lot. It’s either he made a mistake, or he knew the truth about Manila but still twisted the facts. The least he could have done was inform the Philippine goverment about it in advance. That’s just the polite thing to do if you mean to paint a place so bad in your story even though you know the truth. It might be more the fault of the publisher. Dan Brown was just telling a story, he’s allowed to do so. It’s then up to the publishers to take care of censorship and contacting the government about it.
A friendly reminder: Before we react, can we please read the book first. Don’t bring up irrelevant issues.