Unlike much of the stash, this one is Tagalog fiction, a long-ish short story with illustrations.
Before I continue, be advised that the book has elements which make it R18, so be cautious in leaving it in accessible areas.
The indie book gives the story of ten-year-old probinsyano Everlito Samson, and his simple adventures in finding first love in a 17-year-old city girl who becomes a neighbor, back in the Martial Law era of the 1970’s. It reminisces about a simple love back when life was simpler and slower-paced.
The Tagalog used in the book is casual, and shifts regularly between referencing the 70’s and referencing the 2K era (complete with mentions of Justin Bieber). The casual, conversational Tagalog makes it readable. (This is a high compliment; I have trouble reading in Tagalog.)
But it is the pacing and balance of the piece that made me finish it to the end. Simple events bear meaning in the infatuated eyes of the young main character. The author never loses sight of the POV, keeping it always at the level of a man recalling events as a boy.
Descriptions never go overboard and are all presented in typical Pinoy fashion, referencing entertainment. All the side characters are unique individuals you appreciated knowing as you would know a neighbor. There is not a shred of speculative fiction in this piece; everything is realist. Yet it is completely relate-able, romantic, and heartwarming.
The illustrations are classic-komiks style, quite appropriate for the content and add to its charm. The layouting is appropriate for its material, although I hope there would be more space between each line the next time, only so it’s not too hard on the eyes. Copy-editing of the material is also very good and much appreciated.
I want more indie books like this. I hope others would make them!