One of my targets for 2012 is to review a book at least once a month. This means finishing a book for a week or two. If teaching and freelance works were set aside, I will be able to stick with this plan. However, I have been blessed with a few freelance works and a new subject to teach. The new work demanded more time for reading another set of rather boring yet enriching materials. I admit I sound like I'm just planting excuses. :) But all I wanted to say is I'm marking a huge red mark to one of my blogging objectives.

Though I can't comply to one of my blogging promises, I'd stick to whatever I can accomplish. Before the year ends, let's see if I could cover up to my target of 12 book reviews.

The recent book I'm able to finish is Bookends by Jane Green. I never knew Jane Green not until Kaith recommended her as another great author of chick lits. I trusted Kaith so I started downloading some of her e-books. In a recent trip to my favorite bargain bookstore, I also found three of her books on the racks. I was tempted purchasing all three books since everything would cost less than Php 500 (around $12). But my impulsive shopaholic hormones thankfully subsided. I decided to purchase the cheapest paperback for the sake of saving myself from another regretful purchase. After reading the book, I have to say that it was one of best purchases I made for Php 75 (around $ 2).

Bookends related the story of Portia, Cath, Si, and Josh. The four became the best of friends during their college years. Typical to those novel friendship stories, the group emerged from individuals with unique and contrasting personalities. But as they say, friendship manages to bond people you would never thought to complement.

Portia is the beautiful daughter of a financially endowed family. She is the typical heart breaker and the most envied female personality in the campus. Cath on the other hand is your ordinary, struggling and insecure college girl. With their equally opposite orientations, Cath and Portia ended up to be best friends in their college years. Si is the happy and "gay" who desperately lives for his quest for Mr. Right. Josh is the hardworking and smart guy obsessed with Portia. There were other personalities that entered their group, but the story mostly evolved to the four of them.

All the carefree and happy college days are meant to end. It's a painful reality that every group of friends has to face. Everyone will pursue their respective careers and that meant leaving your good old friends behind. However, separation for Cath, Si, Portia and Josh meant something deeper. Portia committed something that forced separation and an unfinished business. The story later fast forward when the characters are in the peak of their respective careers.

Josh has a successful career and became happily married to Lucy. Si remained as happy-go-lucky and loyal with his mission of finding the one. Cath became the typical corporate slave. Portia became a successful and famous writer of a TV series. Cath, Si, Josh with Lucy kept in touch and had their regular meet ups. In one of their get togethers, someone told them a TV series written by Portia. The three later discovered that each of them form the characters in the TV series. Years after of no communication, Cath decides to reconnect with Portia and another surprise chapter in their lives unfolded.

What I appreciate about the story are the following

It related the life-after-work of the typical working slaves  - The book was written in 2000. Much of the events in the story depicted the lives of the typical younger and hungry corporate slaves. Josh who is at the peak of his career struggles in balancing work, being a father and a faithful husband. Cath is the character who I can identify myself. Cath is the single corporate slave who continues to work despite all the stresses and pressures that plague her. Si who has established his career but is still blinded by the thought of finding his one great love. Portia, who have all the fame and success in her career, ends up unhappy and silently fights and escapes some unfinished businesses.

A great modern tale of friendship - Friendship is the next best thing we could ever have after our family. In cases when the family is not around, we usually find comfort and security with our own group of friends. The importance of friendship is always emphasized in the entire stretch of the novel.

Light, entertaining but equipped with a lot of realizations about life - Bookends is a chick lit. It may always be attributed with a shallow plot. However, the simple story was enriched with painful and ironic realizations about life.

Element of unpredictability - I appreciate authors who are able to craft stories that cannot be predicted by the readers. For me, this became one of the strongest points of Bookends. When Portia went back to the lives of Si, Cath and Josh, I was surprised with the turn out of events.

Some things I quite dislike in the novel are the following

I felt bored on the first few chapters - The first few chapters made me felt that there was nothing more special in the novel. I didn't give up because I trusted the recommendation and the few reviews I read. It later became a decision I don't regret though. 

Unnecessary characters - I don't know if this only applies to me. However, I felt that some of the characters in the first few chapters are unnecessary. The story can develop even without these characters.

Overall, I would recommend the novel as a great read. My friends who are corporate slaves are the most who can relate with the story. If you are looking for a light, entertaining and a quality read, Bookends is one that you can add to your list.