Title: The Jupiter Effect
Author: Katrina Tuvera
After 36 years since it came to a halt, the Marcos Era still remains as the most disputed political event in Philippine History. Perhaps a contributing factor is the various accounts and stories during the era; some believing that it lead way to the “Golden Era” of the country, while corruption, military abuse and human rights violations are dominant in other versions.
The lack of a consistent storyline drives the need for a literature that can include both points of view, not only portraying the good or the bad, but the story in its entirety: a human one.
This is what Katrina Tuvera tried to convey in The Jupiter Effect. Even though the book mainly revolved around the Contreras kin, a family respected and feared due to the father’s close ties to the president, it also dwelled on the story of the victims, those who played a huge role in the historical events that shaped the dictatorship.
The book also used real and documented incidents to further enrich and portray the human experiences of those involved.
The Jupiter Effect is a widely-believed prediction back in the 1980s that the world will experience non-stop catastrophes, which quite possibly could lead to the eradication of all humankind and the universe, once the eight planets of the solar system align.
The author used this to portray how the different narrations and stories of those involved are a part of a much bigger picture.
The people’s individual experiences are the by-products of a single political affair, that when combined can create a potentially life-altering event, in this case, a revolution. By delving into these individual experiences, Tuvera created a very personal and intimate account wherein the readers could easily understand and connect to the characters.
No one was inherently bad or inherently good; they were all the products of their choices, influenced by the people around them, all of which have different ways of coping and adjusting to the dictatorship.
Another interesting point of the book was the presence of Filipino culture and values and the critical role that it plays in our society. One particular value was the utang-na-loob and how it influenced Julian’s decision to continue serving the president even after all that he has done.
Our affinity to all things family was also seen.
Despite the siblings’ questions and doubts, they never dared to directly contradict their parents. This culture and norms were not particularly portrayed as positive, and were even seen as an excuse and gateway for compromise and injustice.
It raises important questions on how these perceived moral obligations influence society and politics and how far does it extend to.
The book also goes on to depict the horrors and atrocities committed during the Martial Law Era and how most of these are still present up to date. The use of factual events in the narration of the story provided a greater insight on what life was like during the said era.
It added a profound touch to the story that justified the decisions and choices made by the characters.
Tuvera wrote a story that revealed distinct emotions and human experiences. Though rather slow paced and open-ended, The Jupiter Effect is full of rich insights and leaves you with a better understanding of the life during the Marcos Era. It is one that pushes us to reflect on our privilege and to challenge inculcated norms. I’d recommend this book to those who are just starting to learn about the atrocties of the Martial Law Era and to those who need a rather personal and in-depth information about how it affected the Philippine society and household, particularly those born in the era.
About the Writers and How Do they See Themselves 10 years from Now
MAULEON, Sophia Marie C. , Student – Pasig City Science Highschool
I am hoping that ten years from now, I am able to bring light and hope to those who need it, including myself.
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