Thursday, July 19, 2018

Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion by Leiah Moser | A Book Review

Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion by Leiah Moser | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!


It's been almost two weeks since I last posted on here. My sleeping time is so abnormal lately. I feel so sleepy during the afternoons and I can't help but take naps. And then, I can't sleep until 3:00 AM. My day is so erratic that I can't seem to find the best time to work. These days, I've found myself feeling so tired and just want to catch up on sleep. Hopefully, this August, everything will be good and I will be able to catch up on my reading on my my reviews since I will having a change in work schedule. 

I got this book from the author via the Contact Us form of this blog. I've been getting a lot of requests lately and I'm very happy but the downside is I have an ever growing TBR list. I can't say no to any request because until now, I'm still unable to comprehend or believe how these authors, publishers, or literary agents found me. I know some found my blog on The Book Blogger List. I'm just amazed as to how these people are brought to me that I just don't have the heart to say no. I want to review all books as long as it means I'm helping an author, one way or another. 

Magical Princess Harriet is written by Rabbi Leiah Moser. This is about the coming of age of Harris Baumgartner. A seventh grader whose life was change on the first day of school when he saw something inexplicable on his way to school. From that moment, everything will never be the same in Harris' life. Will he embrace the change or fight it?

This is my first time to read a queer story in a Jewish perspective. It's refreshing because somehow people often associate homosexuality or gender issues with religion. It's disheartening to hear that even in this very modern day and age, there are still people who are so backward in their thinking that homosexuality is an affront to religion. On the other hand, I'm glad that most religions are now open about discussing topics about sexuality and are more accepting of these individuals. If you have a friend who's gay, you would know that it's not like it's their choice to be gay. It's just is. They can't fight it. The same way, a woman is a woman and a man acts as a man. It is not some disease that has to be cured or some kind of possession that has to be exorcised. It's just in their DNA. So, anyone has no right to say that they have no right to be part of this world or this universe. They have as much right as everyone else to be here. With the world getting to be more involved with championing for the rights of the third sex, I am glad that more stories are coming out speaking of their experiences. This story is just one of those stories where the main character and a superhero to boot, is a queer. What's more amazing is it's written by a rabbi who seems to have a wide understanding of the topic. 

This story reminds me of the anime Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon's alter ego Bunny is a very different person. She's often seen as dumb and clumsy. But when she's Sailor Moon, she's so amazing. Harris character which is very ordinary gets to transform into someone unbelievably amazing and powerful Princess Harriet. It was confusing at first because why would her alter ego or superhero counterpart be a girl. It's the most dumbfounding thing. But then, as he becomes to get comfortable in his superhero skin, he gets to know himself better and realized some very vital information about his true self. 

One of the things that strike me in this story is the name of one of the nephilim characters which is Kasadya. Kasadya in Cebuano dialect means happiness, joy, zest. It's actually a positive word and is very much the opposite of the character of Kasadya. Kasadya is very neglected and needs a lot of love. When I first encountered the word, the first thing that came to mind was where and how did the author get the word Kasadya? Was she friends with a Filipino who's from Cebu or Bisaya or is kasadya also a Jewish word? It was surprising to actually see the word being used in this story. I guess, in a way, Kasadya fits one of the female antagonist here because that's exactly what she needs to escape whatever bond that's keeping her. The irony of things.

One other thing I liked in the story is how Harris, Frances, and Aiden were drawn together and found belongingness in each other. These three seemed to have a lot in common. Harris and Frances are best friends. Frances is a very smart girl who loves architecture yet has a neurological issue which makes her sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. Aiden is a later addition to the group. Like Harris and Frances, Aiden is a bit of a keep-to-himself-boy also. He usually gets beat up because he's also a bit different from the other students. So, this trio makes a very interesting mix of characters and each complement each other which greatly helped in their fight against the forces of evil.

This trio, with all their flaws and all, is a very adorable group. I root for them. It's just so easy to empathize with them because in one way or another, we are either, Harris, Frances, or Aiden once in our young lives. Like Aiden, I was bullied in my grade school, so it's so easy to identify to anyone of these three characters or find something in common with them. If not, you might find yourself in a parallel position to Kasadya and Azrael. Two kids who are neglected by their parents. They're treated as soldiers and are either punished for their failures and were never appreciated just as they are. They have to prove themselves to earn some appreciation or to just even be acknowledged that they exist. 

I think the main lesson in the story, aside from embracing being a queer or being comfortable with your gender, is having to acknowledge our fears and in turn, mastering them. If we know our fears and the reason for them, then no one can use it against us because we know it's just in the head. It somehow lessens it's hold on us. And in this story, that is just what exactly happened. When the three characters were forced to confront their fears and resolve that they can't have their fears have power over them, then the evil that threatened them lost his advantage.

This is a good and refreshing story which reminds me of my younger years growing up and watching Sailor Moon to my heart's delight. Those were good days. I give this book 3/5 red roses. It's entertaining enough, especially when the three friends are together. I think Princess Harriet is able to master her powers because of the full support of her friends. She was able to find clarity and accept the changes in her life, both physical, emotional, and mental because her friends are there to help understand them. 




It is indeed necessary to allow judgement to be governed by mercy.
- Leiah Moser, Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion - 




Thank you again Leiah Moser for the copy.