No spoilers I promise.
I never knew her a few days ago. In fact, the only reason I got my hands on her book was when I came back to (re)claim the Coelho collection that made me hyperventilate and glazed my eyes with greed. But a small squeaky voice planted a firm no, so I walked away with heavy feet; although with a light conscience. But as if it’s a drug, ever since I resisted the temptation, I purchased books more than I ever thought I would buy in a span of 2 weeks. I wasn’t supposed to do this yet I did without ever thinking what damage I’m doing: to my shelf and my pockets. And because of that, I owe my copy, The House of Leaves (let’s use THL) an explanation of why I haven’t seen him lately.
When I came back I didn’t get to see the collection anymore but next to it’s supposedly place, a book I haven’t seen before was sitting there telling me it’s new. It had this cover that made me curious and reading the synopsis made me feel like I really have to have it. I haven’t read a love story for ages (not deliberate of course because most books have that angle anyway) yet it already caught my interest. So I bought it.
A few days later, after finishing another book I’ve made another treachery with THL. I ripped the plastic off Before Ever After and I started reading a few lines. A few lines that will make or break if I made a successful buy or a disappointing one (I have a lot of books that were like this). A few pages later and I know I already love her.
While I’m not a fan of too much metaphors she has lavishly sprinkled hers with it and I envied her. Yes there were some times when the metaphors really didn’t work out as smoothly as the others (e.g. the elephant made me confused if she’s referring to ‘the elephant in the elephant in the room OR a real elephant) but the rest are creatively written.
Humor is also another interesting angle in the book. I wasn’t able to grasp the intensity of the grievances and whatever sad feelings she wanted to invoke on the readers (which is probably just me since I’m quite happy at the moment) but her narration is something I’m perfectly comfortable of reading. Her ending is also something you’d expect as the theme of the story goes, none too grand and overly complicated. I was with a happy heart when I closed the book.
“Mystery” abound the book as well, which was unraveled in another curious manner, travelling in different timelines, making you guess of the link in the ‘present’ story. It wasn’t at all hard, but it became like a guessing game on who’s who until of course, you notice the pattern. This is actually one of those books that are effective in print since she can tell the story without ever giving away who she’s even talking about.
Now this is the part when I reveal to you that Ms. Sotto is as you’ve expected with the surname, a Filipina. I honestly didn’t know this when I was already 50% convinced I wanted to buy the book but you could say it attributed to the half of the percentage why I bought it in the first place. I wanted to know if it was as good as it claims to be; which is for me, really was. Reminded me of The Time Traveler’s Wife when I watched it (hmm I have to have that book too!!) which I have yet to compare. But no worries. Before Ever After ended in a manner that I think if you’re really optimistic, you have the choice for a happy ending.
As far as recommendation goes, of course it’s totally recommended! Men may not have a taste for it but I think most women will find this rather entertaining. Not bad for her first book; I will surely wait for a second serving (if she wills herself to). But while she’s still writing, I’m now off to find that baked egg and cheese recipe…
NOTE: I know that at some point if it reaches bestseller status a lot of bandwagon guys will jump at yet another ‘I’m proud to be Pinoy moments’. Puhlease. Don’t ruin a good book. I beg you.