Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
June 30, 2012

Dear Charlie,

First of all, thank you for sending me your poignant letters. I'm honored you think of me as a person that didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though I could have. I'm ecstatic you decided to allow me to read your thoughts. I'm glad you proved to be such a great letter-writer/story-teller. I am really quite happy about this.

It was nice receiving letters from you, even though they're dated long ago. I know that I got them for only a couple of months (in a span of one year), but it felt like you've been talking to me since you were very young. (Remember that memory you called the first one you ever remembered?) I sometimes felt like the things you were pouring out in your letters were a little too personal, but you let me into your head, into your heart, into your soul.

With only your words, I saw you "participate", I saw you have friends, I saw you fall in love, I saw you grow. I may not have ever seen you or the persons you know personally, but I could almost taste your fries from that fastfood chain, I could almost hear Mary Elizabeth's chatter, I could almost see Patrick's smile, I could almost feel the winter cold of your world there. Your friends and family were as real to me as if I saw them every single day of my life.

Now... While I was glad you were very honest in your letters, I have to admit that your highs and lows were brutal and enlightening to me, as they were to you. Your first kiss (remember her tears?), your first "girlfriend" (e.e. cummings will always remind me of her), your first experiments with different substances (I was a little appalled, a little sad, a little curiously happy for you), your first drive (oh, the silly sophomores), your first mix tape (thank you very much for introducing me to a number of memorable songs!), your first time watching the last episode of M*A*S*H (I promise to keep that incident secret, too). You had your issues, but you seemed more interested in those of others. I felt more than a little sad when you were being too nice to some people... But boy was I rather depressed when you had to be all alone! I wish I could've always been there, instead of reading of your exploits on a date after you've had them.

I'll sincerely cherish your words, your thoughts, your ideas. Thank you very much for the pop culture references - you surely made me add more books and more songs and more "films" to my to-check-out list!

I'm a little sad that I haven't gotten any more letters from you after that last one, but I understand. I'm sure you're doing well, and rest assured: I'll always be here to hear you out when you need it.

Thank you for being so wonderfully Charlie-esque. Thank you for letting me feel infinite.

Love always,
Your friend

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Sugar & Salt by Ninotchka Rosca

Sugar & Salt
This is a book of so few pages. It is, however, so heavy to carry around. Oh, so heavy.

It is but a simple story, a fable. It is of so few words, but it is of so much thought.

It deals with a history of a people, a people whose identity seems quite vague, but an identity that is carried through a lineage (?) of a chosen few (of the few who chose -- and who seem to dwindle with each generation). It talks about the Filipino.

It also, interestingly enough, deals with sugar and salt, both of which have had their parts in shaping the Filipino consciousness and culture. It's amazing how the stories of old have been summarized here in such an artistic and heartfelt, heart-wrenching way. (While reading this, I felt like I was watching a very artsy movie.)

Special care has been taken to put woman in the middle of it all. As if it's her place? As if it's her place.

I don't think I have the words to explain this. It's too moving, too mysterious for me to convey my feeling about it. (I have let others read this as well, and they too can't seem to define exactly how they felt after reading this - except that it's "wonderful".) As a Filipino, I was most touched. As a reader, I was most astounded. This will stay with me for a long, long time.

Sugar & Salt by Ninotchka Rosca
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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