Wednesday, May 30, 2012

That Kind of Guy

That Kind of Guy charms you instantly, with its lead twenty-something’s matter-of-fact musings on her resignedly boring life, and her dry yet hilarious appraisal of her unorthodox first serious relationship.

Julie Crisostomo is a by-the-book mid-level editor who – one blind date – is introduced to smooth playboy Anton, a ticking testosterone time bomb who surprisingly pulls Julie into an actual eleven-month commitment. The trouble begins when rational, forward thinking Julie begins to doubt the future of her arrangement with Anton – because once a cheater, always a cheater – and he suddenly detonates the proverbial diamond ring. As any lucid, pick-up-line-repelling woman might, Julie contentedly rejects the dubious Anton’s proposal of forever, until the universe, and chance meetings with a hilarious supporting cast of beautiful people, leads her to wonder if the bad-boy-free path to a stable marriage is the right path after all.

If there is one thing I dislike about this book – and I actually had to think for a few minutes if there was, in fact, something I truly disliked about it – it’s that it’s definitely a fantasy. All girls fall for the ‘bad boy’ with the soft spot, the sensitive sensibilities, tucked away in the corner of his lipstick-littered heart because we all think we can change him. The fact is, in reality, I doubt a story like this would be as pleasant an adventure as it was in this book. I’m sure That Kind of Guy is inspired by something actual, but definitely, it’s too much of a pleasure to be possible.

Disregarding its roots on reality, however, this book is a joy. I sincerely love the complexity of Julie’s character, and although I frankly don’t understand how her brain ticks, it’s interesting how she goes about things, how she handles her situations. Rarely do you find a heroine so content with her lot, so pragmatically optimistic, that in describing the status of her quasi-nonexistent social circle she admits to not having any friends, all the while still believing she’s perfectly capable of building new relationships, should she wish. The dynamics of the cast are also delicious, each encounter with a new member of the ensemble sprinkled with a unique flavor, the concluding concoction a dish perplexing in its scope but delectable all the same. This book will not allow you to put it down. Even if you succeed in prying yourself away, it has a way of sticking to your head like jellyfish – dangerously un-detachable, strangely electrifying. It’s like surrendering yourself to tequila shots every five minutes – you don’t know you’re intoxicated until you are. 

And I have to say, it’s even more enjoyable reading That Kind of Guy after No Strings Attached. [For the record, I enjoyed the more recent one more.] Both are by Mina V. Esguerra, and maybe that’s why they’re both witty mature novels. [Or, I don’t know. I’m 21. Anything dealing with the relationships of people past 25 is mature to me.] Their lead characters are notably different, but that slightly self-deprecating, realistic attitude is obvious in both Carla and Julie. [Just that Julie tends to lament less.] I know the author has published a book prior to No Strings Attached, but I’ve yet to read it. As of now, I’ll keep praying for a third installment of this entertaining, unpredictable string.

On a personal note – and yeah, I get to add this because it’s my blog – my favorite thing about That Kind of Guy is that although it’s not my idea of a workable relationship, Julie and Anton’s, I still find myself rooting for the two of them. I’m not sure I can relate with any of the characters very much – except for Julie’s tendency to think, sod it, the world can complain, but someday I’m going to marry someone without fireworks, and that’ll work just fine for me – but I still find myself trying to figure out exactly what everyone is trying to say. If there’s a irresistible draw to this piece, it’s the characters. They’re all funny sketches of interesting people, and the way they pepper this story makes you want to meet people like them, too. To have an adventure, much like Julie’s.


Anonymous said...

sandy! you write book reviews so well! :)

Anonymous said...

sandy! you write book reviews so well! :)

alexandria said...

Huhu. Thanks, te P! Although I personally think I'm difficult to understand. HAHA! Bad for critiquing.

Nina R.T. Landicho said...

sandy! beautiful! :)