Monday, January 16, 2012

A Singapore Love Story (Low Kay Hwa): A Review

I should really stop having any activities past 12am. Things like bathing, supper and laundry should all be confined to pre-12am because I realized that if you start things late, you'll end up sleeping late too. And that in turn would cause you to have inadequate sleep which in turn would give your stupid brain another excuse to convince you not to attend lecture tomorrow. Not good, I tell you, not good.

Anyways, I've just finished reading a novel recently, with the title "A Singapore Love Story" written by a local writer called Low Kay Hwa. This is his 10th novel and his past works have included titles like "For That Day" and "The Perfect Story". In a nutshell, the novel is about well, a love story happening in Singapore (sorry I am not really good in writing nutshells) and touches on other issues relating to marriage such as money, education and compatibility.

Anyways, a short review on this book:

Yes, I am so lazy that I even use the picture from another blogger

To be honest, I had high hopes for this book. Unlike the many love stories out there, Disney fairy tales especially, that I've seen since young, this is one of the first few books that in my opinion, really manages to explore the meaning of marriage nowadays in a brutally honest manner. It doesn't try to overdo it and makes it all pessimistic in the end, and yet it doesn't try to give an overly positive happy ending either to the story.

The whole however is like saying that, "look, marriage can be both good and bad. It's not a bed of roses but yet it can also be one of the most beautiful thing ever. The question is how much are you willing to sacrifice?" Very thought provoking, the story is.

Sadly, while I hoped for a well thought ending to the book, it did not. The book had high potential, judging on how the first half of the book was written but somehow along the way, the writer must have thought that it is too difficult to give a conclusive ending to such a deep story and decided to introduced a twist that was in my opinion, completely irrelevant to the first part of the story.

I mean it's good to include a twist to the story that is completely unexpected to the reader but you also must be mindful that the twist you are writing can be linked back to the earlier part of the story and sort of continues or build on to the story. In "A Singapore Love Story", after the twist, it felt to me as if the book was divided into two parts with completely different themes and questions.

I had to read the entire second part of the story again to actually understand what happened. I guessed Kay Hwa had wanted to use a clever play of perspective for the twist but somehow all it succeeded in doing was to confuse me. And a confused reader is usually not a good sign.

Criticisms apart, A Singapore Love Story is still a good read for a few reasons. Firstly, it raises relevant questions that very few people dare to confront in our society today. Is love enough or do we need to supplement it with things like money too? And secondly, it also added in the local Singaporean flavor into the story and I'm sure many Singaporean readers could relate to the terms and puns used in the novel. It also gave a foreigner like me a glimpse into the Singaporean culture.

If you are looking for a book that deals with the issue of love in a local context, this book is a good. read. It retails at 17.90 SGD and can be found in all major bookstores island wide.

Til then, adios!

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