Senin, 01 September 2014

Review Novel: Bangkok: The Journal, Momoe Rizal

Title : Bangkok: The Journal (STPC #3 Gagasmedia)
Author : Momoe Rizal
Pages : viii+436
Genre : Adult Romance
Publisher : GagasMedia
Cover Designer : Jeffri Fernando
Year : 2013
Price : Rp. 51.500
ISBN : 978-979-780-629-3
Goodreads’ Rating : 4.12 stars of 594 ratings
First Sentence : Nah, selesai.
Final Sentence : Supaya aku bisa mendapat tambahan 750 baht-ku. –Charm-.

“Kau tak perlu menerima kehadiran mereka. Tapi biarkan mereka hadir karena kita tidak bisa menghakimi apa yang mereka lakukan.” Page. 297

            Edvan has a perfect life. An independent guy, an architect who is on the highest achievement of his career, rich, heavenly handsome, and beyond of those things, he likes to show off what he has (riches, success, angelic physical appearance, naughty charisma). When he celebrated his über-splendid work in Singapore, he got a text from his brother in Indonesia who told him that their mother had passed away.
            Deciding to go back to his motherland, Edvan encountered that Edvin, his brother had changed. He met his mother’s profile laid on him for real. Edvin was no longer a guy. ‘He’ had reached ‘his’ dream that was becoming a pretty lady. Getting rid of self-denial of having a transgender brother, Edvan tried to focus to the weird legacy that he inherited from his mother. The legacy is an old calendar whose backside was written by Artika a journal. The most peculiar thing of the legacy is Edvan must have looked for the other six calendars which were in Bangkok. Edvan might be able to find the calendars easily if he had clear and precise clue but the hint that he’d got just a name and unspecific location. Furthermore, Edvan didn’t know that whether someone who kept the calendar was still alive or died because it is from 1980.
            Despite of having pessimist of finding the calendars, Edvan opted to fulfil his mother’s want. On the plane, when he tried to flirt to a flight-attendant woman, he got a name of someone in Bangkok that was disposed to help him to ‘explore’ Bangkok in the project to find the journals. She is Charm who offered herself to work for Edvan. Charm will get paid 3000 baht for every journal they get.
            As Edvan thought before, the journal chasing is nothing but complicated. It’s not only about the existing of journal’s keepers that Edvan and Charm had to find but also the feeling that Edvan put onto Charm. Being together every day made Edvan fell in love with Charm. He even hid everything about him that Charm hated. Well, one day, Charm had talked to Edvan that she hated an architect, transgender, a man who has tattoo, etc. (I forget the others). However, Charm regarded that Edvan was just a ‘boss’ who paid her for the job.
            Besides Charm, Edvan was also accompanied by Max, Charm’s younger brother. Despite of his annoyance, Max succeeded to amuse Edvan if he got broken heart because of Charm’s response and Max also helped Edvan finding his mother’s treasure. But, the closeness between them grows something strange which Edvan felt about Max. Especially, when the bathtub accident happened.
            Then, after Charm confessed that the call which she received every now and then was from her fiancée, Edvan decided to stop looking for his mother’s journal and accepted the current project that harms memorable place for him and Charm. Nonetheless, some lessons that he got about the loyalty among family members while he was exploring Bangkok, brought him to think twice about his decision.
“Lagi pula, aku nggak tertarik wisata bangunan artistik seperti di Eropa. Itu semua buatan manusia. Aku ingin wisata alam. Wisata yang bangunannya diciptakan langsung oleh Tuhan.” Page 94

            Frankly, among other GagasMedia novels which took romance as the main genre, Bangkok actually did a brilliant work. You can give checklist to ‘romance’ but the main point is about the relationship between son and his parents and brother to ‘brother’. As I stated in the synopsis, Edvan has disappointment to his parents—especially mother—about her allowance to let his brother becomes a someone else. But then, Edvan is swept by the wave of regret because of his leaving to prove that he could be independent guy. To wrap the big theme of this STPC up, Kak Momoe Rizal brings the story to an adventure so that, the city that he explores into the plot can be well-developed. I adore this idea so much.
            Now, let’s move to the Bangkok explanation that eng…. well-told, well-described, but can’t make me so impressed to get there. Yeah, to be honest, about the language that can we find in some parts of this book, I always skip it because I feel disturbed when I try to read it. Sometimes I am eager to learn Thai language but I hate when it is transliterated and the diacritic marks appear all the time. In addition, I suppose a lot of names of the place mentioned are little bit  annoying to me as well. However, I am so interested in wat (temples) and pagodas and the description about Bangkok which has large sidewalk. But, the most mesmerising about Bangkok is about the culture. I catch on to Bangkok has two sides which are in contradiction. One side tells me that Bangkok is a religious city but the other side reveals that Bangkok is so popular with its night life and LGBT free acceptance. And don’t you forget about belief in spirit and ghost. This one really reminds me of Indonesia, you know what I mean. It enlightens me why Thai movies are dominated with horror genre. I remember when Edvan is presumed as a horror movie star by Thai people who admire his charming aura. Well, if it is in Indonesia, I swear that Edvan can be supposed as sinetron actor.
            Speaking of destination place, I think there’s a fatal mistake done by Momoe Rizal. When Edvan visits floating market in Bangkok, he compares the place to the Indonesian floating market in EAST KALIMANTAN. Note it! East Kalimantan doesn’t have floating market. The one and only natural floating market in Indonesia is in SOUTH KALIMANTAN, and I think everyone knows that, especially the ones who live in the era when RCTI showed floating market as its opening. Please the notable Kak Momoe Rizal, you can do research well about the place overseas, so do it also about the place in your country. Moreover, it isn’t infamous place whose detail information is really difficult to find.
            Talk about the writing style, Kak Momoe Rizal, as usual, is capable to create a witty funny fresh writing that can make us be grateful to spread a smile. I, for the first time, fell in love with his writing when I read ‘Oh Baby’ which is an adaptation from teen movie ‘Oh Baby’ starred Cinta Laura. He can give his writing a soul by research, so when I read ‘Oh Baby’, I was sure that the author is a female. It also happens when I read ‘Glam Girls: Outrageous’. And now, Kak Momoe Rizal (I don’t know what your nickname) succeeds as well to make me sure that Edvan is him in reality. Not totally him, but I suppose that there are some aspects of Edvan which are actually him.
            Still in writing aspect, I want your clarification about this sentence I found in your book.
She’s the one whose I won’t mind being kidnapped by. (page. 92)
            I’m really sure that when I took Grammar 3 chapter adjective phrase, whose is not followed by pronoun or proper noun takes a position as object. I learned that whose indicates possession. And you know, when I type the sentence on Microsoft Word, there is a blue underline below whose, means that the sentence is not correct grammatically. So, I think the sentence must be changed into She’s the one whom I won’t mind being kidnapped by. Sorry for being a grammar police.
            And for my favourite part to talk: characterisation. I want to discuss it one by one.
1.      Edvan. A typical rich handsome guy who are very proud of his charming. Like to show off his pride. I am not really irritated of his tendency to boast his riches, but the way he prides and admires his body is seemed ‘you-know-what-I-mean’ to me. Entirely, Edvan is not an arrogant person. He’s kind and hilarious actually. He’s just annoying due to his bravado.
2.      Edvin a.k.a Edvina. You know what the next happens when I talk to transgender and Thailand? Yep! A beauty contest for trannies and Edvin also joins into this contest. He/she is more wise and witty than her brother. Trust me! She (I am tired to use both of single third person pronoun) isn’t a kind of coquettish tranny that we know in general. Despite her friends in club like to flirt to men, Edvina still shows courteousness like a lady.
3.      Charm. A generous woman who seems to distance from Edvan’s flirtation. Mature and well manner. She tends to be serious but not stiff or frigid. She’s cheerful at the place. When Charm gets a job from Edvan, she lives in secrecy. She is occasionally phoned by mysterious call whom she tells to Edvan as the job from charity foundation. I was wondering at the time what happens to Charm. It is funny when I think Charm is transgender and the pile she consumes is an oestrogen hormone, but when the fact revealed, I am little bit disappointed because it is too mainstream. Not an ending that I, and most of all readers, want, I suppose.
4.      Max. He is Charm’s younger brother. Comical, jocular, talkative, yeah, you can give him any labels indicate to an amusing person. I can’t stand to hold laughing when he puts his short off to show his tattooed ass to Edvan. Compare to Charm, the chemistry between Edvan and Max is thicker. Make me suspect that Max has feeling to Edvan. Come on, it’s Bangkok and I think nothing but ‘gay thing’ when Bangkok is taken as the main setting (I did a rhyme, yeah!). Moreover, my suspicion becomes more intense when Max tells that Edvan is like Chaiwat Thongsaeng (star of Bangkok Love Story. FYI, it is a very popular gay movie in Thailand).
I picture that Max is like a fool lover in ATM. You know, the boy who pretends cutting his chest to grab his heart and throw it to his girlfriend.
            Two things that quite disturbing in this book is the inconsistent of Kak Momoe Rizal in writing Edvin’s name. Sometimes he wrote ‘Edvin’ but sometimes he wrote ‘Edvina’. This case happens before Edvan is proud of admitting Edvin as his brother (sister) or in the other speaking, before Edvan is pleased to call Edvin as Edvina.
            One more, the journal is totally not readable. The font is too small and difficult to read.
            But, the best part of this novel is moral lesson. I quote one for you,
Di hadapanku, duduk seorang pria yang selama tiga puluh tahun terakhir mengumpulkan uang untuk bertemu Ibu. Sementara aku, sepuluh tahun terakhir mengumpulkan uang untuk menjauhi Ibu. Page 165
            Now, I feel like a freak critic!

Storyline: 6,5 of 7
Cover: 6,8 of 7

1 komentar:

  1. You know, you are really a freak critic! lol.
    Sampe sedetil itu... ah, kalo soal grammar aku kalo gak disuruh nyari mana yg salah dalam ujian structure, aku gak bakalan repot2 nyari tahu atau nyadar bahwa tu grammar salah *timpuk diri sendiri*
    Dan yeah, Moemoe Rizal should read this, I think. Apalagi soal East Borneo, wtf he was wrong about that?! Trust me! This was... awesome!


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