REVIEW: Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan, Bob Ong

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nito ko lang nabili ang 8th book ni Bob Ong. Actually nakalimutan ko nganghindi ko pa nababsa ‘tong librong ‘to, eh. Naisipan ko lang dumaan sa NBS para humanap ng librong bibilhin at noon ko lang naalala na wala pa nga pala akong kopya ng Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan. Na-excite nga ako nung nakita ko.

Binili ko. Kasabay ng The Lost Symbol ni Dan Brown. Hindi ko mapigilan na bilhin ng sabay kasi matagal-tagal na din akong hindi nakakabasa ng bagong libro. Tutal may budget naman, hindi na akong nanghinayang gumastos para naman may iba akong mapaglilibangan aside from reading (and re-reading) my magazines. Plus ibang kaligayahan ang hatid ng novels compared sa ligayang hatid ng FHM.

Wednesday, May 18,2011

Ang init. Summer pa naman kahit na may mga panaka-nakang (naks!) na pag-ulan.

Wala naman akong masyadong ginawa maliban sa routinary na pagluluto ko ng breakfast/lunch food.

Naligo.

Matutulog sana ako kaso naalala ko na may mga pwede pala akong pagkaabalahan maliban sa pag-check sa Twitter at Facebook gamit ang cellphone ko na ilang buwan na ding walang load.

Inuna ko muna yung FHM May 2011. Thumbs down.

Tapos ayun na. Binuksan ko na yung Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan…….

_____

This book by Bob Ong is a good one. It’s good because it’s different from Ong’s previous books in terms of structure and story-telling. It’s good because despite of it being different, Bob Ong still managed to incorporate his unique and very distinguished ‘touch’. Different body, same soul.

It is said that part of the book was from the real journal of the real Galo. And yes, this is a GOOD suspense-horror book.

I have always admired Bob Ong books. I started reading his work when I was in second year high school. He was my hero then. I even wanted to be Bob Ong when I grow up. I was a big fan before everyone started picking-up his books. Then came those misquoted Bob Ong quotes which made me ask myself if I missed any BO books because I don’t  remember reading some of the Bob Ong quotes doing the rounds on the internet and the SMS world. (It turned out that people are making up quotes.)

I loved Bob Ong’s books because they are very easy to relate to. I’m guilty of shedding a tear or two when reading his books despite  he pokes on very easy-to-relate-to story he writes.

‘Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan’ is actually a story based on journal entries by a 16-year old student, Galo. He chronicled his struggles as a student, as a lover, as a teenager trying to fit-in a family that is not really his, as a grandson and as a man trying to save his sanity. This book tags us along Galo’s journey from the noisy streets of Manila to the quiet but mysterious community of his grand mother’s rural home.

Galo escaped the cruelty of his life in the city by staying with his sick grandmother only to be haunted by the ghosts of his past.

_____

Mabilis akong naka-relate sa kwento ni Galo dahil may mag pinagdaanan siya na malapit sa akin. Muntikan pa nga ko maiyak dun sa entry nya nung sinabi nya na “ang bata bata ko pa, ganito na mga problema ko” (or something like that.)

May problema sya sa pag-aaral, may problema sya sa lovelife, may mga problema sya sa pera, may mga problema sya sa pamila. Madali maka-relate sa kwento ni Galo dahil at some point, napag daanan naman siguro ng lahat nang mga iyan. Hindi man sabay-sabay, makaka-relate at makak-relate pa din.

Hindi ito ang typical na horror-suspense novel. Actually, hindi nga ito typical na Bob Ong.

Easy read ang istorya ni Galo sa Maynila- may kontrabida, may support, may extra at may leading lady/ladies. Hindi mo iisiping horror ang binabasa mo.

Pero pumasok ang pagka-horror nung bumalik si Galo sa probinsya ng lola nya. Mula sa mga weirdong imahe hanggang sa weirdong ayos ng bahay ng lola nya.

Kailangang malawak ang imahinasyon mo para marambaman mo si Galo at ang mga nararamdaman nya. Kung gagawin kasing pelikula ‘tong librong ‘to, hindi sya magiging typical na Pinoy horror na mananakot na lang basta may pagkakataon. May build-up ang bawat character sa istoryang ito. Ipinakilala ni Bob Ong ang mga character at ginawa nya munang kampante ang mga mambabasa na kilala na nila ang mga tauhan sa kwento. Eventually, inilabas  niya dark side ng mga character. Plus magiging kakaiba ito kung gagawing pelikula kasi hip-hop ang soundtrack. Frustrated rapper lang naman si Galo.

Palibhasa nasanay ang ilan sa ‘slapstick’ na horror kaya nanibago ang iba (base sa ilang reader reviews na nabasa ko) sa horror story na ito.

_____

Beneath the witty, funny and the scary parts of ‘Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan’ are the real-life undertones of the story of Galo.

First, the importance of a family in the character building of a person.

Galo grew up as an angsty child. He was ‘handed down’ from one relative to another because his Biological parents were not there for him. Add to that the feeling of being unwanted given by his current foster family.

Teenagers nowadays are afraid of vulnerability.

Galo taught himself to be callous just to save himself from explaining how he feels. He doesn’t want to be misunderstood further. He kept his angst to himself via his journal. He doesn’t want t come off weak especially in front of his foster family.

Teenagers nowadays don’t bother to explain their feelings anymore because they don’t want to be misunderstood.

Sex is still an issue we opt not to talk about in large groups.

Galo and his friends even started laughing when the priest preached about sex during a Mass in their school.

Not all Filipinos are open to the idea of talking about sex in the open. Some still think of sex as something untouchable when in fact, premarital sex and sex outside relationships are very prominent nowadays.

Religion has become something optional to some.

Religion is actually the turning point of Galo’s story. He and the kids who became his company were trapped in an unending quest to know the reason behind the weird rituals Mama Susan and her group perform.

Unlike sex, religion is something our country is known to be very fond of. But the sad truth is that majority practice sex more than their respective religions.

When the reality gets too cruel, we try hide it from ourselves.

Galo’s journal has become our means of knowing the truth about his life, but it turns out that he is hiding some truths from himself. It was until later in the story that Galo’s wrong deeds were revealed- things he never wrote on his journal as he did it. Things that he was running away from.

Some of us are afraid of the ghosts we create. Not everybody is confrontational when it comes to the ugly truth. We see what we wanna see and hear what we wanna hear, so we can say that we’re happy.

Huwag mong bibigkasin ang hindi…

mo naiintindihan(?)

I assume this line from the start of the story is just Bob Ong’s way of telling us that we should not go into talking about things we don’t fully understand for doing so may lead to problems.

(It kinda beats the purpose of me, writing this whole thing.)

_____

Wow! Ang dami kong nasabi tungkol sa librong ‘to. Teka. . . parang hindi naman galing sa akin ‘yung iba dito ah. Biro lang. Hindi ako nag-plagiarize nang sinuman.

Hindi ko nga pala i-trinanslate yung mga Latin phrases or paragraphs. Sakit lang sa ulo. Ipinagpalagay ko na lang na Latin phrases or paragraphs sila.

‘Yung mga imahe nga pala ay hindi akin. Nakuha ko ang mga iyan sa Google, na kinuha naman ang mga iyan sa kanilang respective owners. No copyright infringement intended whatsoever, peram na lang ng images. Pretty pleasee? (May ugly please ba? Kung meron, yun na lang. KTHXBYE)

5 out of 5 sa akin ang librong ito. I find to be less boring compared to Ong’s 7th book. Maybe it’s the story telling that sets this book apart from BO’s previous fictions. Plus na-touch nga ako dun sa kwento ni Galo sa Maynila.

_____

Thursday, May 19, 2011

12 comments on “REVIEW: Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan, Bob Ong

  1. Wow, nice book review!:)
    Kakatapos ko lang din basahin yung libro, and I found it heartwarming in many instances 🙂 parang hnd masyadong halata na suspense/horror yung dating ng libro, kagaya ng sinabi mo! Gnda ng pagkasulat ng themes of the story! 🙂

  2. Pingback: ‘Lumayo ka nga sa TV’ REVIEW: Bob Ong’s Lumayo ka nga sa Akin | Mental Domain

  3. sa libro na yan lalo ako bumilib ky Bob_Ong 🙂 napakalawak nya mg’isip pero tlagang na’ideliver nya into easy way ung nilalaman nung libro . The 1st and last ko na nbsa yan ..dat was 2010.^^ newly publish pa lng ng “Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan”

  4. tnx for your review… grabeh natakot ako don… ang lupit talaga ni bob ong.. kung hindi mo talaga iintindihin ung istorya… hindi mo maiintindihan ang pinakamalalim na meaning.. salamat…

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