Book Review – Not Invisible: A Memoir

I long for days past when I could spend time at home and just read a book. I do not think I am being hampered by technology — I still read a lot on the phone, but I feel like a physical book needs to be enjoyed like an 80 proof glass of scotch. It has to be nursed.

May 17 2021 was a milestone. Shy of a year and a half into lockdown, I finally got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Ayala Malls by the Bay. It was a horrible 8 hour ordeal. I knew this would happen. To make the impediment much more bearable I brought my kumare Frances Amper Sales’ book, Not Invisible: A Memoir. It is a compilation of blog posts from her site, Topaz Horizon that lays bare her journey into love, marriage and motherhood. It is as if there are three women speaking to the reader as you can say that this book was written across a long swath of time. It is narrated by Frances the single woman contemplating that huge leap of faith into marriage with full knowledge that her parents were not happy in theirs. It fast forwards to Frances as a wife as she dwells boldly into marital bliss and the burdens that come with it. Lastly, there is Frances the mother that encapsulates the balancing act of self-love and selfless love.

When I am asked about married life and what it brings I often use a home-grown analogy of the “great SINE wave of life.” Whereas many people may enjoy the great rolling plains of contentment, the majority seem to choose the latter. Falling in love and having children is like a SINE wave where the dips and peaks — the crests and troughs are proportional to life’s experiences. The moments happiness and bliss are intense. But the same can be said of the lows. This is, in essence, what Not Invisible tackles. It’s about conscious decisions of opening new doors — love, marriage, children while balancing your own self-preservation. It tackles Frances’ tug of war between anecdotes from her mom telling her to never get married if she wants a happy life versus meeting Vince and feeling “something” different.

On a personal level, I find Not Invisible to not just be a story about Frances. It is also a story of her husband, Vince. I must point out that I have only mostly known Vince professionally as we both, back in the day, worked for competing technology publications — he with the local franchise of T3 for Summit Media and I, with Mobile Philippines under Hinge-Inquirer Publications. To get to know Vince on a deeply personal level from the eyes of his spouse is disarming because it shows a side of him that I have never gotten to know. But as a married man myself I am intrigued and blessed to get to validate how other husband-creatives can be at home when they tackle the life of domestic bliss.

This book is short, albeit packed with meat. That is a good thing because it dishes out lesson after lesson on the dynamics of relationships as an individual, spouse and parent. You will have something to take home if you are currently in a relationship and pondering marriage. If you are currently married with children (or considering children) it brings to light the many doors of generosity and love that can be opened in the little home of your heart. Most importantly, this book is not just for women. As a man, I am grateful to my kumare for the straight talk on what women want and more importantly how they see their place in a relationship. It is not something often written down. Not Invisible: A Memoir is available for P350 on Shopee.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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