Friday, January 06, 2006

Noli Me Tangere 2: Touch it not

I am one of those people who have more than three copies of this Rizal book. The first one was inherited from some relatives who bought the book because it was required reading in College. I remember it was lying around in the house when I was in grade school and so I started reading it then. This is probably cliche - but this book did have a profound effect on me and probably helps explain my decidedly leftist orientation early in life. The second copy of the book was bought on a whim - it was a new translation by this Locsin matriarch. And then one day I came across a version of the book that featured a really arresting book cover: it was of a billboard on EDSA that screamed something controversial (I do not recall the exact sentence now) so I bought that one too. But I do admit that it has been almost four years since I last reread the book. I plan to reread it soon.

And so, when I read in the papers that there was an updated version of the book entitled "Noli Me Tangere 2: Where to now, my country?" I made time to go to National bookstore during the Christmas break to grab a copy.

I started reading the book on December 26. It is now January 6. I still haven't finished the book. I am still struggling through it. And what a struggle it is because modesty aside I can finish a book overnight (and if it truly is a great book, in one sitting).

Ever been in one of those situations where you stagger on valiantly hoping against hope that things will turn out better - and they don't? Instead, it keeps getting worse. But you still wanna give it a chance - and you justify your dogged determination with all kinds of flimsy excuses...the writing can't be this bad - maybe it is just the first few pages...and then the writing gets even more tedious. Then you justify why you are still reading it by thinking maybe the plotline will save the book (it doesn't either, the awfully convoluted Mga Anghel Na Walang Langit is a gem compared to the plot of this book). And then you just keep on reading out of empathy for the writer and his intentions.

This is a book that simply doesn't get there. It goes around and around but rarely hits a target whether emotional, intellectual, psychological, sociological or even political. The metaphors are confused and sometimes get bogged down in the attempt to be lyrical and profound at the same time. And the dialogues - oh dear god - I have never read dialogues so artificial and unnatural. The characters in the book must all have masters degrees in philosophy because they converse with utmost clarity and coherence. And the situations are so... so...Pangako Sa Yo, the telenovella.

And to think the book is proudly endorsed by Senators Jovito Salonga and Joker Arroyo. Whew! Did they actually read the book?

If you buy the book and feel like you want to sue the publishers after - call me, let's do it together.

4 comments:

Being Jerome Daclison said...

I know what you mean! Last year, I went on a book bargain shopping spree at National bookstore when hardbound books were marked down from Php 99.00 to Php 50.00! I accumulated around 25 books and most of them are written by known, if not award-winning writers (e.g. Toni Morrison and Philip Roth). Oh my God! Up to now, I only finished only half of it because of the same reason: some books seem to be going nowhere with the long supposedly-establishing chapters. Sigh. You should try to read E. Lynn Harris by the way. You'll love it. :-)

leona said...

will it help me with my rizal subject?hehe

eudziee cake. said...

call me stupid, but i want to buy the book. i became curious of what the book contains. I'm no book worm nor a smart kid as well. Hope I'm not throwing away money for this one.. I also want to compare it with the original novel..

my comment about the novel's title: too much direct to the point, it lacks originality and um, the "spark" and which makes a book less boring.

I'll think about buying that book.

-a 14 yr old kid who only cares with the music he listen to 7 the clothes he wear.

pinoy_radical said...

hindi kaya nakikita mo ang sarili mo sa nabasa mo sa aklat Noli Me Tangere 2? at naiinis ka dahil ito ay katotohanan?