Annie Gorra, a native of Cagayan de Oro who now lives in North America, visited her hometown to launch her book, Mystery on the 17th Street, earlier this year. Set in the Cagayan de Oro City in 1970’s, the book opens nostalgic feelings and easily reminds readers of their childhood and the neighborhood that they grow up with.
Mystery on the 17th Street revolves around the life of a seven-year-old boy named Agustin, who now narrates the story as a grown up. He recalls the kind of life he has as a kid in 17th Street, his family and his friends. He vividly remembers the peculiar old woman named Iya Vellit who lived across their home in a nipa hut under the mango tree and the disturbing behavior she display whenever there is a neighbor giving birth or whenever his mother held a novena.
This rhythm of life on the 17th Street was disrupted and became complicated with the arrival of a new neighbor, a woman and his son. But while all these things are happening, Agustin and friends continue to be kids and lived in the fun and enchantment of a traditional Filipino neighborhood. He and his friends looked back and realized how much they have played and enjoyed the simplest things like climbing trees, spying on neighbors and blowing those bamboo canons.
Early readers of the story are impressed with the “Mystery on 17th Street” even when it was still called “Witch on the 17th Street.” George Verdolaga, best-selling Amazon author and TEDX speaker, Vancouver, BC finds that ‘Mystery on 17th Street’ is “At once sentimental and also uplifting,” while Kagay-anon says that this book “Will make you miss your youth, crave your mother’s cooking and long for the fellowship of the people you once lived close by.”
Author Annie Gorra based her story from her husband’s and sister-in-law’s stories of adventure and capers while they were growing up. These stories are quite amusing and yet very precious. She then choose to set it up on the 17th Street, Nazareth as a tribute to the Cagayan de Oro that she once knew and grew up, remembering it as a truly beautiful place.
Mystery on the 17th Street is published by Anvil Books and is now available nationwide through National Book Store and Powerbooks for Php 295. This book is distributed by National Book Store in Cagayan de Oro and is also available in ebook through Kobo Philippines.