Dear Philomena, is the story of two strokes, one boy, one girl and a whole lot of magical realism.
July 1991, Leocardia Byenkya underwent an ultrasound that informed her to expect a baby girl. She chose the name Philomena.
January 16 1992, her baby was born as a boy. Filled with shock and surprise, Leocardia named her baby boy Mugabi.
December 2014, Mugabi suffered from two strokes within a week of each other. Mugabi was 22 years old.
'Dear Philomena,' is a series of thoughts and conversations between Mugabi and Philomena (the girl he was supposed to be) about the year he was supposed to die but somehow lived through.
This book obviously is based on surviving protracted ailments especially one with no apparent cure but certain themes such as Pain, Friendship, Music, Medicine and Family, pop up as it progresses. It leaves one with questions like, how one lives on knowing that the one thing he depends on for survival has suddenly turned against him, what kind of friendship survives a year when discussions are always about the daily experience of a dying friend, who exactly is Philomena?