Rina Ayuyang’s view of the world is a bit eccentric, but whose isn’t? As an artist, she has the unique ability to offer a lens for people to gaze through to see the world as she sees it. As a Filipino woman growing up in a multigenerational household, I can relate, especially with how she chose to interpret not just the world, but her world and the bazillion different ways these experiences helped shape who she would become as a human being.
From the first page of her illustrated memoir Blame This on the Boogie Rina approaches life with a high enthusiasm on the stage the world has set before her. With every turn of the page she shares long summer days spent dancing to her favorite musicals and singing songs from records found at garage sales. She recalls with great warmth the pea green carpet in her parent’s living room, a creative space shared with the rest of her family. Chaos seemed to reign supreme in her household, whether it was singing together to a record, practicing dance steps from a favorite musical, or translating pictures from her mind onto a page.
The flow of time in Rina’s life passes by in a blink of any eye whether she’s talking about attending school and the struggles of concentrating in class while imagining duets in her head. In an instant, she’s an expectant mother wondering what her son will be like to dancing with him and her husband down the sidewalk. Each page is filled with a riot of color to delight the eyes or a new experience that Rina approaches with unmasked passion.
What I love most about her personality is when she has a passion, she throws everything she has into it, no matter how ridiculous or silly! I swear a good half of the book is dedicated to her obsession with the hit show “Dancing with the Stars” and the great lengths she goes to ensure her favorite duo wins the contest. When she’s not browsing social media her attention switches over to her son and the challenges she faces as a new mother. I suspect there was undercurrent of guilt she felt for finding success as an artist because she’s often away from home promoting her work. More than once she thinks about how she could be spending time with her son and husband instead of focusing on herself.
It’s a constant tug-of-war in her mind, and speaking as someone faced with a similar situation, one I can relate to. Family is important, whether blood related or with those you’ve forged over the years, finding the balance between the two has challenged my perceptions of how I approach the world. This is just a guess on my part, but I think it plays a big role in the type of person Rina has grown to become, going off the experiences she shared about her own family.
Blame This on the Boogie offers readers a unique look into the mind of Rina Ayuyang’s strange and wonderful personality, a glimpse into how events, music, friends and family help shape our view of the world. I’m sure much of what she presents is filtered through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia – but what good memories aren’t when talking about childhood? I’ve got my own happy memories I rely on when the chips are down that bring a smile to my face and make me laugh and cry. And her memoir is just that, a collection of recollections from happy moments from this insane musical we call ‘life’, wonderfully illustrated and bursting with joy. Not sold in theaters.