Friday, September 25, 2015

The Difference Between A Trip And A Journey

Let it never be said that you weren’t forewarned. This post is an abrupt departure from my usual volley of posts (or the lack thereof) and for the longest time I hid from my laptop because I was itching to write this and writing this would mean my admission to it. Something I’ve been successfully avoiding for so long.

Here I am, in the penultimate semester of college, with still no clue whatsoever about what I want to do with my life. Or rather, how I am going to do what I want with my life. Even as I changed my ambitions daily – from wanting to be a teacher to a nun to an archaeologist to a criminal psychologist to a physicist to an engineer – the only constant that remained was my love for books. And even though the decision was made unconsciously, the reason why I didn’t pursue a degree in literature, but rather in engineering, was phrased more eloquently than I could have ever done, in a Korean drama I just finished watching recently.

I’ll state it bluntly. I’m fucking scared. I am now standing at the figurative, much-clichéd, crossroads of my life – with no road maps of any sort. I have a destination. A five-year plan. A twenty-year plan. But ask me what the hell I’m planning on doing next year and I’ll just shrug desolately.

I thought the reason why I read so much was only because I loved it. I recently had an epiphany and realized that was just not it.

I was running away.

In some remote corner of my mind, I knew what I was doing. Escaping reality. Postponing the moment I had to make a choice. Pretending as though I had already started on the trip that would take me to my destination.

People tend to think a journey is the line connecting two points: the start and the end. But in actuality, it’s a broken, jagged line consisting of several lines connecting several points in between. Whilst we’re on the journey, the end point changes several times.
“How long until the next rest stop?”
“Are we there at that bridge yet?”
“Tell me if you see the sign for a U-turn.”

I know what I have to do. Fill the tank. Get the tyres checked. Get in the car. Start the ignition. Get the map I’ve drawn for myself out and start driving. As simple as that. And it terrifies me.

But I’m going to do it. I’ll start by drawing the map first.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

AUTHOR BINGE: Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney Australia. Her first novel, Looking For Alibrandi was awarded the Children's Book Council of Australia award in 1993 and her second novel, Saving Francesca won the same award in 2004. Looking For Alibrandi was made into a major film in 2000 and won the Australian Film Institute Award for best Film and best adapted screen play, also written by the author. On the Jellicoe Road was released in 2006 and won the WAYRBA voted by teenagers in Western Australia in 2008. It also won the US Printz Medal in 2009 for excellence in YA literature. This was followed up by Finnikin of the Rock in 2008 which won the Aurealis Award for YA fantasy, The Piper's Son in 2010 which was shortlisted for the Qld Premier's Lit Award, NSW Premier's Lit Award, Prime Minister's Literary Awards, CBC awards and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her follow up to Finnikin, Froi of the Exiles will be released in Australia in October and the US in March 2012.

My introduction to the phenomenon that is Melina Marchetta was not a smooth one. It was not even a respectable introduction. Dammit, my first impression of Jellicoe Road was Рwhat the fuck was happening? Who the fuck are all these people? I had thought this book was going to be another one of those high school coming-of-age clich̩ novels and I was wholly unprepared when the book flung me headlong into open fire.

I slammed the book close and forgot all about it. I later spied upon it and decided to give it another try, especially since everyone on Goodreads was raving about it. I laboured up to a tenth of the book, at which point I promptly abandoned it again.

I opened the book a third time, determined to understand what the fuck was happening. I read slowly, at a rate of a third of a page per minute. I laboured up to a tenth of the book, was sucked into it by a third of the book, fell in love midway and wept shamelessly at the end, cradling the book against me.

Marchetta writes her characters with a zeal that leaves you breathless. Her books begin with an explosion of characters who don’t wait to give you an introduction – the moment you open the book, you’ve been inserted to a frame in their lives, and it’s up to you to make sense of the story they want to say. Her characters ooze life. Even though we’re seeing the other characters through the narrator’s eyes, somehow Marchetta is able to give us the power to judge the characters ourselves, by showing their many sides. Every time I reach the end, I get overwhelmed by the feeling of love that supersedes every other feeling. She always manages to integrate the unconditional love of blood with the love woven in bonds of friendship. Bonds usually forged in the unlikeliest of places.

My GR reviews of her books that I've read:

Looking for AlibrandiLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should have known.

I should have fucking known that this book would tread down the path to breaking my heart with its coming-of-age wisdom and reflections of a seventeen year old girl who tries to fit in but never could. I should have known that Jacob Coote will forever have himself imprinted on me and that John Barton will be that boy whose memory will always make me weep. I should have known that I could never bring myself to hate Michael Andretti and that I would end up feeling sorry for all the Nonna Katias and Marcus Sandfords in this world. And that I will forever worship Christina Alibrandi.

And if I had known all that prior to my reading this book, I probably wouldn't have had to deal with the emotional mess I'm in right now or the splitting headache because of clogged sinuses.

View all my reviews


Saving FrancescaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"What did you like best about this book?"

"You mean apart from a plot that sucks you right in, and characters that come off as people with as much depth and as many faces real people do, and how every time I turn a page I have to mentally prepare myself for that feeling like there's something in my eye?"

"Yeah, apart from all that."

"No pretensions. No big words. No trying to wrap something that's raw and honest in beautiful lyrical lines or anything. No trying to come across like something more than it is."

God, I love this book to bits.

View all my reviews


And there's Jellicoe Road. I've read it twice already. For some reason, I find myself shelving off the inevitable review post on my blog citing lack of enough rereading. For now, I'll sign off this post by saying this book, THIS is my favourite Marchetta ever.
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