[Book Review] Ang Autobiografia ng Ibang Lady Gaga ni Jack Alvarez




Gaya ng sinabi ko sa nakaraang post ko tungkol sa aking Aklatan 2020 haul, excited akong mabasa ang librong ito. Hindi naman ako nabigo, dahil ang ganda-ganda nito!

Damang-dama ko ang sinseridad ng librong ito. Hindi nagtatangkang magpasikat ang awtor at sa halip, nais niya lang ibahagi ang kaniyang mga karanasan bilang isang bakla at OFW sa Saudi Arabia, pati na rin sa iba't ibang papel na ginagampanan niya sa buhay. Maging ang gamit ng wika'y napakanatural pero tagos sa puso. Sa tingin ko, dahil sa kombinasyon ng mga ito, mas lumakas ang mga kuwento.

Gusto ko rin ang pagiging self-aware at reflective ng mismong persona na nagsasalaysay sa akda. Hindi siya pretentious at pa-deep, pero makikita't makikita mong sinusubukan niyang himayin ang kaniyang mga karanasan. Pero siyempre, may mga pagkakataon ding mararamdamang siya mismo'y hindi gaanong sigurado sa mga nangyayari. Sa palagay ko, mas lumutang ang pagiging totoong tao niya rito, pati na rin ang pagkamakatotohanan ng kaniyang mga ikinukuwento.

Natuwa rin ako dahil sa kabila ng pagiging direkta niya sa maraming bahagi, mayroon ding mga puntong napaka-subtle ng awtor. Hindi niya tahasang sinasabi ang mga bagay at hindi rin siya parang paring nagsesermon para ilatag ang kaniyang mga nararamdaman at naiisip. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, mahusay na tinutupad ng awtor ang isa sa mga pinakamahahalagang utos sa pagsusulat: Show. Don't tell.

Sa mga bagay na implied lang, mas yumayaman ang kuwento dahil hindi lang basta ito isinusubo sa mambabasa. Sa halip, ginagamit ang iba't ibang elemento para akayin ang nagbabasa rito. Saktong-sakto ang diskarteng ito ilang mga bahagi na tumatalakay sa maseselang pangyayari't paksa.

Basta, ang galing ng librong ito! Ang daling basahin pero tagos sa puso. Puwedeng-puwede itong irekomenda sa mga nagsisimula pa lang magbasa ng panitikan dahil tiyak na mas gaganahan pa ang mambabasa nito na tumuklas ng iba pang gawa ng mga Pilipinong awtor na may iba't ibang pinagmulan. Maganda rin itong modelo para sa mga nagsusulat tungkol sa personal na karanasan. Higit sa lahat, isa itong patunay na marami pa tayong hindi naririnig na boses at kuwento sa panitikan.

(Larawan mula sa Goodreads)
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Mina Deocareza
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[Book Review] I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid





I have to admit, I only picked up this book after seeing the trailer of its upcoming film adaptation. Apart from being wowed by the said trailer, I also read some comments about how mind-blowing the book was.

They weren't wrong, after all. Upon finishing the book, all I could say was, "What the fuck?!" But of course, let me tell you first what it's about.

A young couple goes on a long drive one night. They are going to have dinner with the guy's parents at their home (she's meeting them for the first time). During the drive, the girl goes on and on with her internal monologue which is sometimes interrupted by a pressing thought:
I'm thinking of ending things.
She tries to fight it, but the thought keeps coming back. It does, no matter how hard she tries to convince herself that her man's actually a kind person who is also so smart and interesting.

When they get to his parents' house, weird things happen. Instead of going directly to the house, the guy insists that they have a tour of their farm first. There's something weird about the farm, though. There are lifeless animals piled outside the barn.

Eventually, they enter the house. There, they are greeted by old and mismatched furniture. The girl sees a photo and asks the guy about it. He says that's him when he was young. Weird, the girl thinks. The child looks like her!

It takes longer for the parents to finally show up, and when they do, they also display weird behaviors. Over dinner, they play a weird game and talk about things that the girl finds uncomfortable. And when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, things get weirder. On that side of the house, she finds the door to the basement. Curious, she checks it out and is freaked out by what she finds there.

So what the hell is happening here?

Actually, by the time I reached this point in the book, I was already so scared and confused. Besides, during the drive, the girls also recall some weird stuff from the past like the weird caller who has been bothering her for a long time. What's even weirder is the fact that it's actually from her own number. She also tells the story about this weird guy she once saw staring at her right outside her window one night.

What the fuck, right?

Yet, no matter how weird things seemed to me (yes, I've been using the word "weird" a lot here because I think it's the best word to describe things here), I kept on turning the pages. I just couldn't bring the book down!

No regrets, though. In fact, I can say that it's a very rewarding read. By the time the plot twist was revealed, all I could do was buy it. I thought it was earned. It didn't just come right out of the blue. Moreover, more things from the previous chapters started to make more sense.

It really gave me a great reading experience. It even scared the shit out of me at some point that I had to take a break from it. So yes, If you are into weird and eerie books with crazy plot twists, go ahead and pick it up! It's also short, so I'm you'll be able to finish it immediately.

Now I can't wait to see the Netflix film. I hope it lives up to the hype!

And, oh, in case you haven't seen it yet, here's the trailer of its movie adaptation:


(Photo from Amazon)
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Mina Deocareza
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