Title: Before Ever After
Author: Samantha Sotto
First thing’s first. I’ve to admit, I judged a book by its cover! 😀 It was one random August Friday when I decided to go inside National Bookstore and saw this:
And as a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, I instantly grabbed it and didn’t have any second thoughts. C’mon, I’m practically Kate Middleton‘s self-proclaimed NUMBER ONE FAN! So if the words fairy and tale and ever and after don’t catch my attention, then there must be something wrong with me! Hahaha! But seriously, I only decided to read the book’s synopsis when I was already THIS|CLOSE to the cashier! Having admitted that, I guess I “judged” well because now, I’m done reading it and I have my TWO THUMBS UP! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the book is internationally published and has a Filipina author — a full-blooded Filipina at that! So yeah, it’s warm and fuzzy all the way! 😉
Before Ever After is written by Samantha Sotto, and it’s a one of kind novel that makes its main character (and readers!) discover “that not all stories end where they are supposed to.” It’s a book that combines love, life, history, and even chickens and eggs all in one very compelling story that is worth reading! Which made me come up with the following things (in alphabetical order) to reflect on:
EUROPE. Austria, England, France, Italy (including Ancient Rome), Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland are some of the European countries you can travel to just by reading this book alone! 😉 I’ve never been to Europe. If only I can travel to Italy and the U.K., I’ll already be content. It’s always been one of my lifelong dreams to travel there and I’m not giving up! Hehe. Anyway, I know a few people (actually, A LOT of my family and friends) who’ve been to Europe and they don’t have anything to say about the continent except for GOOD STUFF. So yeah, they’re lucky people indeed! But for us who still have YET to apply for Schengen and U.K. visas, don’t fret! I still consider us lucky! Why? Well, I have two justifications to somehow sweeten our “bitterness” (haha!):
First, we get to be creative and enhance our imagination. Sure, there are pictures. Sure, there are movies. But don’t you think it’ll be nice to know that once you finally go to Europe, the things that were once confined only in your thoughts will already be in front of you? If not, then I guess that’s just me. But the mind works wonders, people! I repeat, THE MIND WORKS WONDERS! 😉
Second, we have something to look forward to. Yes, those who’ve been to Europe can always go back, especially if they threw a coin and made a wish at the Trevi Fountain! 😉 But you know, there’s always something special about THE FIRST TIME… something to look forward to. I couldn’t emphasize more on that.
LIFE. Hmm… how do I go about this without spoiling the story? Haha! Fine. Let me take an excerpt from the book itself to explain what I mean to say:
“Our world, after all, is what we choose to create around us, here and now. We build homes, towns, cities, civilizations — grander than all that came before, but never enduring. Etruscans. Egyptians. Greeks. Romans. Venetians. Where are their empires now? Where are the worlds they built? Gone. Judged. Ended. But life goes on. We take our shattered bricks, spread our plaster, and build again… hoping that we are starting over for the last time.”
Yeah. THAT and have you ever thought about immortality? If you could live forever, would you be up for it? WHY? — if you could answer that “simple” question, then I guess we’re done here. ‘Nuff said.
LOVE. Ooh! Here we go again with that warm and fuzzy feeling! ♥ But seriously, I don’t think that any story will be complete without a touch of love in it! Don’t you agree? 🙂 Anyway, Max and Shelley‘s love story is basically the alpha and the omega of Before Ever After, and I’ve to warn you, theirs is a love story that conquers ALL. If I may say, walang sinabi sina Alladin and Jasmine, Jack and Rose, Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah… Hihihi. But the good thing about the book is it covers “love” in the broader sense of the word. Love for the opposite sex is already a given. But you know, there’s also love for life, love for friends, and most of all, love for family:
“My parents died, but I was never an orphan. Nonno was my family. He raised me as his son and there was not a single day that I doubted that. Even now. You can make a child believe a lot of things. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny… just about anything really, except love. You cannot make a child believe you love him if you don’t. My grandfather loved me, Shelley. I know that. Whoever else he was or turns out to be, he was and always will be Nonno to me. My childhood was not a lie. And I don’t think your life with Max was, either.”
There. 😀 I highly recommend Before Ever After because there are many other things you can learn from reading it. Whether you are male or female, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as long as you love traveling, have a sense of adventure, are interested in history, and just love life for what it is! Of course the three things you’ve just read (Europe, Life, and Love) are just “me,” so feel free to make your own list of things to reflect on. Having said that, I give this book an OVERALL RATING of: ♥♥♥♥♥
Lastly, most people may think that “happily” precedes “ever after” only in fairy tales. But if there was one thing Ms. Sotto’s book taught me, it would be to think otherwise. I say our “ever after” will depend on what WE make it to be. Always.
Look who saw this very entry (thanks to Twitter!):
😀 😀 😀
P.S: Samantha Sotto will be signing books on September 18, 2011 (Sunday) at the Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center. She’ll be at the National Book Store Booth from 1:30-2:30PM. She’ll also be answering questions at the panel discussion at 3:30-4:30PM (meeting rooms 5 and 6). I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get to meet her and have my book signed! See you there, yes? 😉
(Read about the book signing/discussion here.)