“Mula sa kasumpa-sumpang kahirapan at kalunos-lunos na kaignorantehan sa mundong kanyang kinagisnan, namulat si Marie sa tunay na mukha ng matamis at mapagpakasakit na pag-ibig. Ngunit makakayanan niya ba ang mga hamon ng bukas? Ano ang kanyang magiging kapalaran? Huwag na huwag palalampasin ang mga tagpo ngayong gabi sa telesineseryenobela na kumpleto sa pang-aapi, paghihiganti, impostor, amnesia, kasal at diary!”
I think I found my worst book for 2012.
To translate, here’s what the book synopsis says: “from the cursed poverty and pitiful ignorance of the world she grew up in, Marie found the sweet and painful truth about love. But can she face the challenges of tomorrow? What will her fate be? Don’t miss the scenes in tonight’s tele-cine-series-novela that’s complete with maltreatment, impostors, amnesia, a wedding and a diary!”
Doesn’t make sense? It wouldn’t unless you’re familiar with the tropes of soap operas. Yes, of soap operas in general, and not just the ones in the Philippines. Though, I think the point of the book is to satirize the local entertainment industry. And it does exactly that, to an extent. Most of the time though, it read like lazy and haphazard writing.
Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin contains three “stories”, ridiculing three of the more popular genres in the local entertainment scene: the action movies that star politicians in the lead, the horror films filled with characters who react unrealistically, and the romance drama filled with deception and secrets. I’m actually surprised they didn’t go for the fantasy genre too–though, that genre seems to already be in the decline nowadays.
I’ve always seen the good side of every Bob Ong book. But this time, no matter how hard I look, I just can’t find anything good in this book. It’s not exceptionally written, and it treats its readers as if we’re in on the joke. Well, we’re not.
And this isn’t because I’m writing for the industry. My friends know that I’m the first one to point out mistakes–even with my own works. It would be foolish of me to say that there’s no formula being followed–not to mention, I’d be lying too. But stories made for movies and television are more complicated than what is shown in Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin.
The book takes everything bad about the industry, ties them all together, and presents them as truth. Or as semblance of truth. But they forget that there are good things about the telenovela genre too. It provides a temporary escape for those who just want to take a break from real life. And sure, the events don’t always make sense, but it’s not real life. It’s fictional. If people wanted to watch something that happens in real life, they’d watch the news. For escaping reality, you have to veer away from reality.
I’m sure some people enjoyed reading Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin. If you did, good for you. But this one isn’t for me.