I've known this book for quite some time, but I haven't got the chance to read it. When I learned that the novel has a movie version, my curiosity has been triggered. There are about 7 copies of this book left in the National Bookstore, so I bought one for 200 pesos. That would not hurt my pocket anyway.
The story revolves around the life of a street smart guy named Intoy who has an informal love affair with a rich, beautiful and sophisticated lady named Jen. Their relationship is vague and it's cumbersome to understand their status. They're not lovers but they are doing what lovers are doing. So they preferred to call their relationship as "Friends with benefits and perks". But Intoy has fallen in love with Jen, something that he is afraid to confess to Jen. Jen on the other hand got pregnant, and the sad part is, Intoy is not the father. Jen suddenly disappeared after confessing that she is pregnant, and the story ended up with Intoy finding for his first love.
I have to warn all the readers that this book is a little bit of a spoiler. I think the author, Eros Atalia, did it on purpose for a sequel. But content wise and story wise, I commend you read this book.
It's all about choices in life. We all have several choices, but among all choices, there can only be one right choice. It is about a realization that we may have a lot of choices, but the other choices are just useless if it is not something we really prefer. I will itemize some elements in the book that would support this theory.
1. Multiple Choice
The story has started in a classroom setting where Intoy and Jen are taking a Physics exam. Part of the exam is multiple choice. We know that the common instruction for a multiple choice is to select the correct answer. Among the four choices, there is only one correct answer. When I was still schooling, most of my classmates like Multiple Choice type of exam. Because they don't need to think an answer if they don't know the answer. You just have to select the answer among the choices. However, the choice is still useless if it is not the correct answer. The author used Multiple Choice to make us realize that we may have options and choices, but there can always be one correct answer.
2. Ideal date of suicide
While taking the exam, Jen texted Intoy who is just sitting in front of her, asking him to suggest the ideal date of suicide. To commit suicide here is not a choice because apparently Jen has already decided to commit suicide, she is just asking for a good choice of date to take her own life. Intoy didn't take the question seriously, so he suggested the options from January to December and end up dumping all the choices for the reasons he specified. The author would like us to realize that we may have all the options and choices in life, but none of these choices can answer our questions. Not all choices are solution to our problems. There are times that it is better for us not to take a choice or an option.
3. Coffee versus Beer
Coffee and Beer are two most common beverages here in the Philippines, but both of them have different characteristics and effect. Apparently, Intoy prefers coffee over beer. He described how he loved coffee compared to beer. The author would like to emphasize that there are times that we need to choose between two opposite things in life, and our choice depends on how we feel over the element.
4. Jen versus Venus and Joy
In the story, Intoy has informally hooked up with three different girls, first is Jen, then there's a prostitute named Venus and the other one he met in the beerhouse named Joy. Venus and Joy are just a rebound because he wants to forget Jen. But whatever he do, Jen is still reigning on his heart and mind. The author would like to make us realize that there are some things that we would like to choose, but it is not included in the selection. So we end up settling on choosing on what is only available, but the unavailable choice is still what we aspire to choose.
They say to choose is a freedom. The choices in life are the best manifestation that we human has a freedom. Our life depends on the choices that we are making. BUT, sometimes, the choices that we have in life are the ones that suppressing our freedom.
Here is the trailer of the movie version of Ligo na U, Lapit na Me:
And something to brag about. Sir Eros Atalia, the writer of this book, has sent me a comment regarding this review via Facebook: