Moonriver, Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is hard to read Capote's style of writing when it comes to the matronic-reads. Comparing it to his Crime Story, his style is almost the same - descriptive and somehow lacking action words.

But I shall entertain this novel since in the first place, it is a matronic-read. And all the while, I may learn about how Capote writes his stories. :)

The writing style, set in before war-times, doesn't have the transition of chapters. The character is vast with little description. Though the usage of adjectives is adequate, I must say it is a bit hard to put your soul in the story. It maybe my lack of cooperation of my mind to perform the immersion phase. Or maybe the tiring eyes that cannot handle how the writer writes the love element.

Truthfully, the ending was disappointing. Capote hinted it to be open-ended but for clues that I cannot seem to figure out. I am not up for rereading, either. Hmmm.

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Of OFWs and Kite Runners

The Kite RunnerThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of how to forgive and redeem yourself in the middle of war, of change, and of forgotten land. Hosseini wanted us to see the story of the setting, emphasizing that we should be grateful of our own country.

Review and Reflections:

I don't know how Hassan gets the kite, or where the direction the falling kite is going to, but he just knew.

Just like Hassan, it is how we should love our motherland. No explanations, no complaints, no inhibitions, we just know.

Hosseini takes his first journey as a contemporary fiction writer tied with the story of the setting, of the history of Afganistan, of how the society, culture and heritage was formed before the war came and how it was torn apart by the war. Amir and Hassan grew together during the end of the monarchy, lived their adolescence in a short-lived republic, and lived their own family lives - one right outside of the war, while the other one is in the middle of it.

Amir wished to be a writer when he grew up someday, which is very much different from Hassan's desire - to be with Amir forever; be a friend as well as a brother. When I read the snippets of Amir reading the story to Hassan, and Hassan mentioned about onions as the way to be rich, I realized, why do our leaders think of it that way? Why do we have to complicate things for the sake of personal enrichment? Why do we seek for ironies, and why is there a need to hurt ourselves? Like these Afghan boys, we also have the same sentiments in our society: discrimination, rich versus poor, a chance to redeem and a chance to be more than who we are now.

Paired with the events of the Kite tournament and of Assef and his peers with angst to all forms of Hazaras, it was Amir's defining moment: to take the courage to run and save him, or to run away.

Amir's defining moment made me remember one of my interactions with the Filipinos in London. One sunny sunday after the morning mass in Westminster Chapel, I was called by a Pinay, not by name, not by a "hey!" or even a shout, but by our most-famous summons: PSSST!

When I approached her, she immediately asked if I were a Pinay too. When I concurred she quickly introduced me to her friends who are taking their breakfast. They are OFWs, who are celebrating their day off from working Monday to Friday as nurses and Saturdays as apartment cleaners. Few introductions, few tips on roaming the city, but 15 minutes later they are spilling out their sentiments of our country. They are not going back without their cash, not going back unless they have their substitutes (i.e. sons and daughters to accompany them, or sisters/brothers to take their place) or not coming back at all. And I thought, what about the place they left behind? What of their families their left behind? What of their history and heritage? As I listen to their stories I cannot imagine why some of our own people say some harsh things about the motherland. When will you come back? Is it when you have more funds now compared to then? Is it when a family member is dying and wanted to see you as a dying wish? WHEN?

That is why there is a Hassan in every Amir. That is why Hosseini wants us to see courage and gratitude and peace and struggle in Hassan. If we can only think of ourselves and not also of the others we are bound to feel lost, to feel afraid, to feel guilt.

And again hearing the sentiments of kapwa Pinays, I want to be their Hassan. I want to be an example of a Pinay who believes in becoming better, that there is still a festival no matter how cold the winter is. That there is hope no matter how wretched the city is. That there is a motherland for them to return to - warts and all. I want to be a kapwa Pinay who pulls them up and out of that mentality. Because who is to call them back? It will never be the British men, it will be one of us.

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James Patterson's Sundays at Tiffany's

Sundays at Tiffany'sSundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I was Jane what will I do to release myself from the jaded mediocre life..? This is how Patterson will teach me - through this novel.

I found the book online and placed it in my handheld gadget. As soon as it was stored I get comfortable on my bed and started reading. Enjoying the moments, both happy and sad, it made me realize some things.

Review and Reflections:

[Entry made to wisely spend the slack time in the wee hours in the morning.]

There are a lot of times that I am surrounded with childhood friends, playing laro ng lahi when facebook, or even friendster was not yet a hype in Manila. We work our assignments together, play our games together, even run some errands together. We have owned such precious moments, and it will forever stay in our hearts.

That is why I cried a tear when Michael told Jane that her 9th birthday is the last day he will stay with her, thus, the end of his assignment. Whatever will happen to Jane from that night on? Michael told us that Jane will simply forget that he arrived and became her friend.

But you know what? Such treasure etched in her heart. As well as in mine.

Fast forward and Jane is a messed-up. She is supposed to be living thirty, flirty and thriving but hell, she is with her mom and acting "okay" with her boyfriend named Hugh who is an actor - living the life "okay" though she is crying inside. Depressed and on the brink of tears, she took down a memory lane and finally, to where her happiest moment was - taking a large sundae on a Sunday afternoon across Tiffany's.

Suddenly it felt right. But what about Michael? Is he real?

I will not elaborate the lovey-dovey parts of the story for I do not want to spoil the magic, but Patterson taught us to not forget, and no matter how tough the situation is, holding on to the happiest moment is the key to make it all right.

We have the power of attraction, a successful mantra that whatever challenge we are facing, we are to undergo and survive all this. In life and in love, the mantra is so powerful, it can mold faces and make two total strangers look like the same over the years. It can leap through time, transcend through generations, and fly sky-high.

I may not yet experience the kind of love that does not forget, but I have my power of attraction as my weapon. And believe me, I can give you one too. What you need is to BELIEVE.

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I am also like That Kind of Guy

That Kind of GuyThat Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is not about chemistry. It is about certainty.
I guess I have had that figured out when I read that the lead character made a mistake with her boyfriend the first time around.

Review and Reflections:

I grabbed a copy of the book since the author will be arriving at the event that I'll be coming too, soon enough. And for me to have a pep talk with Mina Esguerra, I shall at least know what are her books, and how does she write.

This is the first book that I read from her and I actually liked it. Thus, the rationale of three stars.

The story can be read in one sitting. It is about Julie, single after her 11-month relationship with Anton, and over the 7 months of moving on, she has her book of exes, containing names, professions, and whatnots of girl who met his ex after the break-up. Why so? It is for her to justify that her decision then is valid and correct until now.

Can I just say? That book is trash. Because that book, in the first place, is not her decision. It is just a back-up document.

Let me have a liberty of elaborating my views as I reflect to the characters. After all, this is my review, not yours.

I was never a Julie, a manang, because in my high school days I have had an identity crisis. When I overcame it, academics overwhelm my emotional challenge and personality make-over. I was "okay" (geeky girl) when I graduated high school. I was okay when college came.

But I decided to be Anton the moment the Epic-fail-three-day-affair ended. Too much information as my friends would say, but I met men on a bus stop, on a coffee shop, while eating cake, while crying over a romantic read, and most of all, on gimmick places where the motto is makuha ka sa tingin. Some girls may not understand this, but this is more of a breakthrough for me. That I can do what guys can do. And believe me, that felt liberating.

But as I grow more mature, the set-up grows more and more tiring. And if I have had one shot of a genuine relationship - I shall try my best to be a Julie-at-the-moment-I-am-with-him.

Then, a Julie-kind-of-guy-arrived, take me to dates, say some things, then fly away. Just because of a Julie-kind-of-issue: CONFIDENCE

That is why I cringe and do "singhal" at the moment I read about Julie not being confident on what she's wearing, and Harry noting that he's underdressed. Because they are not confident about themselves. That is why I am mad a these characters carrying prejudice and back-up documents - support systems that can back the decisions they made. For Julie, its her turning-down the offer Anton made; and For Harry, its the generalization of "people like him" (pertaining to Anton).


Dear reader, Mina enlightened us that romance - or even life-changing decisions - do not need a back-up. THEY NEED CONVICTION. That is why Julie chose to go to Anton's house, talk to him, stare at the ceiling, and pray for the challenges with them that lie ahead.

It's automatic. When you decide, you don't think at a fast pace. You don't underthink; or YOU DO NOT overthink, either. You analyze, weigh the consequences - convince yourself first, then DECIDE. People do not decide before they can convince themselves that it is right, IT IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND. If the decision is not right on your end, Get disappointed. Grieve. Cry and drink it out. Shout it to your friends. Simmer in the bitterness. You have that right.


Dear Mina, I liked the character set-up you did in the story. But I wish to have it the other way around. If that happens I shall give it more stars. We can talk about what I really mean when we have the chance to meet soon. See you! :)

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James Patterson in his Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas

Suzanne's Diary for NicholasSuzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first find James Patterson's way of telling a love story in the movie version of Sundays at Tiffany's, where its story is very much different with Capote and Audrey Hepburn. It was about the spirit of a man taking into human shape, given a mission to make a woman happy, but fell in love eventually, torn between his mission for another and his mission for reaching happiness.

In my personal way of browsing the shelves of Book Sale in Market-Market, I was lucky to have found this book. Compromising the price of Php145 to the quality of the book not being in mint condition, I believed this is going to be a goodread.

And it was.

Crying is so refreshing, especially if you are uncontrollably sympathizing to the characters of the story.

The story started with Katie, knowing that she is irrevocably in love with Matt, questionably left her broken hearted. I tend to ask why as my way of participating as a reader, but the initial answer was open the package and read the diary, Katie. Matt never expected to fall in love with her, but he did.

The ink and the epistles that consist the entries of Suzanne to her Nicholas stung Katie. Who is Nicholas? Why Matt warned her that some entries are so hard to read? Why insist on reading it rather than explaining some things in her face?

And so me and Katie as the readers started turning the pages.

Review and Reflections:

The first entry started with simple introductions of Suzanne to his son, Nicholas. As a woman whose parents died of early age, she wanted to write a diary to her son to be reminded of her when he grew up. Suzanne wanted to be remembered as a mother. In this simple way of opening up to a kid full of innocence, this is her way for her kid to remember love. May it be not only with words and actions, but also with a keepsake.

Wouldn't you be grateful that your mother is by your side as you grew up? I was, and still I am. I remember her songs, her biblical parables, her sermons, life lessons, and girl talks. I remember her tips in shopping, her sense of direction, and her heart in explaining her disposition.

But it is not only a communication between Suzanne and Nicholas; it is also a heart-to-heart talk with Katie. That she feels the same. Moving along the diary entries we learned that Suzanne has a successful career, broken up with a career-driven man, changed her whole life and made new beginnings, and eventually fell in love - with a painter and a writer.

I also remember my mother's story of The Cat Race. When we complicate things, we become problematic, and at one point, we may experience a heart attack. Suzanne emphasized the story of five balls - where career is a bouncing ball, while the rest are glasses, breakable and vulnerable. I even remember telling this to a bookworm that career is just a career. LETSENG CAREER YAN, iinom na lang natin yan. hahaha

I won't go into details and twists of Suzanne's love story because this is part of the treat Patterson wanted you to read, especially if you are simply romantic. Just read them along. And let me point it out: it is not only the love story element that made the novel gripping, but also her simple language conveying lessons to Nicholas and eliciting memories with Matt.

There are quotable quotes in this book, and let me mention a few (together with my reflections).

Love between two people can last a long time if the people love themselves some and are ready to give love to another person. We are not here needing love, we are needing to be belonged. Before we love our lovers we should be whole and love ourselves first. We should feel the purity and intensity of it. After all, When it is true, when it is right, love can give you the kind of joy that you can't get from any other experience... Because to be without love is to be without grace, what matters most in life.

And as we see Suzanne's challenge in her workplace and in her own life, we see that Life doesn't go on forever. We are here to savor every moment of it, breathing it all in, feeling lucky and grateful.

In one of her sharing of an experience with her patient (and I will not disclose even there is a spoiler alert), we realize that we are fragile, and we are to remember how life can be like walking on a high wire. Falling seems a tiny misstep away.

The heaviest part of the story is where we all thought this is only a heart-to-heart talk between Katie, Suzanne, and the non-talking Nicholas. Life can be unforgiving sometimes. When I saw a leaf containing Matthew , my heart skipped a beat. WHY DID MATT MADE A DIARY ENTRY? It is for me as a reader to find out.

I WAS CRYING IN MY WORK DESK DURING MY DOWNTIME and my colleagues saw me. A laughing matter, yes, but I cannot control it. I felt betrayed.

Where was he? Why did he write that? What to do now? I asked with Katie. Katie made her move, grabbing the lessons of the five balls as her weapon, deserving her own happily ever after.

I don't wish to have a life like Suzanne's or Katie's, I wished to live it full or wishes and dreams coming into life. This emotional rollercoaster story made us realize that we a simply lucky to live each moment everyday, keeping these little things as our keepsakes, weaving our own bracelets, or writing our own diary entries.

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