Reviews

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), by José Rizal

coldbrewfiction's review

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challenging dark emotional tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

It's 100% better when you don't read this as a school requirement. Trust!

romulussy's review

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ELIAS NOOOOO

epicpinkfluffyunicorn's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

supposed to be seminal book but didnt rly get it. end and intro r so good tho

rapitash's review

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4.0

It took me way too long to read the Noli. I started reading it for my 2017 Reading Challenge (a book set in a place you visited this year--the Philippines), but I put it on hold when I realised I wouldn't finish it in time for the new year and went to read other books instead. Then I ran out of times to renew it, so I resolved myself to finishing it by Sunday night.

The thing about Noli Me Tángere is that Rizal successfully wrote the book he had intended to write. It's an expose of everything that is wrong in the Spanish Philippines. Most of it boils down to the Spaniards' and the religious' abuse of power, racism and classism. Rizal introduces you to the diverse residents of San Diego and shows you how the social cancer affects them all, each in different ways, often in a combination of the three. No one--even those who are arguably the most powerful--benefit from the circumstances presented in the novel. Everyone suffers. The only way to stop that suffering is to hope for a better future and to try to bring it to fruition--not just for yourself, but for your country. I might not have understood everything, but by the end of the book, I understood why José Rizal was a national hero. I understood why every Filipino is made to read this book at school. It's a call to action, a catalyst for something big, an eye-opener. For that, I can't fault the novel. The role it's played--still plays--is huge.

But as a novel to be read, even with its message, the Noli didn't quite do it for me. At points the text gets overly flowery or off topic; there is often way too many obscure references I needed to check the footnotes for. The love story between Cristóstomo and María Clara is said to be the highlight of the novel, especially as you realise that their love is doomed because of the social problems. Even by classic novel standards, I found their relationship leaving a lot to be desired. If anything, the relationship between Cristóstomo and Elías was a lot more interesting in my opinion. Overall, it almost felt like Rizal had jam packed the novel so deeply with instances of how awful the society was that it felt like it took away from the story. It's just difficult to really judge the novel on that front because, as I said before, Rizal had a clear intention for the book. I feel like I would've enjoyed the Noli more, especially for what it is, had Ibarra not been the hero, and the story was more focussed on the residents of San Diego as a whole.

As a satire that helped spark a revolution, it's incredible stuff. As a novel you want to pick up to read on a Saturday afternoon... it's not the best pick. My official rating would be 3.5 stars, because of how much I struggled with it. But as someone with Filipino heritage, I felt like it was a necessary read, and I'm glad I did. It's definitely an interesting one.

vitolylo's review

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5.0

I believe every country needs a books a good and as a powerful as Noli

earlapvaldez's review against another edition

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5.0

Finished this just in time for the 29th Anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, and I could say that reading the book for the third time (the first time in English) made me realize that a lot of our ideas regarding freedom, religion, and the state needs to be articulated and, in a way, purified.

seenamac's review

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challenging hopeful inspiring reflective slow-paced

4.0

I def need to read Cliffs Notes for this one cause I found it hard to follow and understand all of the references and symbolism, but it’s a beautifully written book nonetheless. Reading a part of Filipino history was poignant and the weight of this book was not lost on me.

osborne's review

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3.0

The story was interesting enough, although it felt a bit disjointed at times and didn't flow super well. One gripe I have is that the characters didn't seem too well developed. The introduction of the book was good and gave some context to the story. Overall a decent book—good enough that I read the whole thing, but not quite compelling enough to really draw me in.

danteflorez's review

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dark emotional funny informative reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

santino1215's review

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5.0

BOOK REVIEW
"Noli Me Tangere" or "The Social Cancer" by Jose Rizal

"Noli Me Tangere" is a novel by the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal, first written in many various parts of Europe such as Leipzig, Berlin, Paris, Ghent etc. and published in its finality in Berlin in the year 1887. This novel is a landmark in both Philippine history and Philippine Literature because it gave a voice to bewildered Filipinos suffering. This novel was censored by the Spanish colonial government, and a reason for Rizal's execution was for "betraying" the Colonial government.

For this novel's plot, it follows the tale of a Filipino mestizo Juan Crisostomo Magsalin Ibarra (Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin, for the archaic Filipino name structure) as he is at massive odds with the religious friars of the barrio of San Diego while he tries to liberalize the Barrio by establishing a school for boys, writing letters to those in authority. A more romantic subplot of this novel is Ibarra's romance with his childhood sweetheart Maria Clara delos Santos, and his rather intimate friendship with Elias, a mysterious odd turned even as an ally to Crisostomo while escaping the brutal Spanish authorities.

The main reason for this novel's titling in English "The Social Cancer" that is because apart from actually following the story of Crisostomo Ibarra, we follow the stories of many bereaved Filipinos in this novel, eerily mirroring real-life stories.

MY THOUGHTS:
This is by far the most important Filipino novel and my top 10 novels of all time, as well as my top 10 novels for 2021. Man, reading this story in English and I forgot which translation I actually read, Wattpad did have the complete text of the Noli, well, I probably read the Derbyshire translation.

This story is tragic on so many levels, Basilio and Crispin not being able to reconcile because of brutal Spanish Authorities around. Also, Sisa, oh Sisa! I really felt bad for her, she and her family deserved so much better.

Crisostomo Ibarra is a great protagonist, in my opinion. He did get things done, trying to enlighten those around him, and his relations with Maria Clara, Elias, and finally Pilosopo Tasyo or in English, Old Sage Tasyo.

Man these characters really had to go through a lot of Torment to example a point. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Philippine Society, where those who are knowledgeable of the social condition and those who have solutions are shamed and those who reek of stupidity and entertainment thrive.

Man, when you realize the Sabong (Fighting of Roosters in a match, a form of Gamble) was given more attention than what is happening in the Philippines is so disheartening, man.

I won't forget this novel, I had to read this novel again a year after pleasurably reading this novel, this time for school. Man, the crocodile scene and Ibarra saving Elias, Maria Clara and Crisostomo in the balcony and finally, the big damned revelation that the Crooked priest Damaso is the real biological father of Maria Clara is so much of painful plot, I admire Rizal for writing a timely novel for a nation that doesn't, unfortunately, read.