I’ve been coming across blog posts about the author, Mina V. Esguerra, and her works for quite some time now. Although I’m not much into Filipino novels, this definitely caught my attention. Hence, I decided to give her works a try.
I wanted to try out My Imaginary Ex first, but after searching for that book in bookstores, they can’t seem to have available copies of it, so I bought No Strings Attached instead.
Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
Carla is a whiz at her job: she’s efficient, reliable, and a total genius when it comes to putting something together at the last minute. The snag is she’s single and turning the big three-oh in a few months. Her girl best friend (yes, she’s married just like the other girls in Carla’s barkada) keeps trying to set her up with stable banker-types, while her guy best friend (single – the other single one) encourages her to play the field – no strings attached. Then, through no set up or extraordinary circumstance, Carla meets Dante. Hot, smug, sexy Dante. Definitely not a banker-type and seemingly too good to be true. So there’s got to be a catch. There is. He’s five years younger. Is the universe telling Carla to finally let loose and enjoy a fling with a younger man? Or is there a lot more to this awkward situation that she bargained for?
Turning thirty years old and still single is not something most people would look forward to. In the book’s case, that’s how Carla’s friends feel when Carla has remained single despite a few dates and short relationships. Her Girl Best Friend, Mary, would often set her up on blind dates, but Carla isn’t in a hurry. Plus, even though some of her blind dates seem promising, who can undoubtedly provide for a family in the future, Carla just hasn’t set her mind in that phase of life yet… until she meets Dante. It’s kind of hard for me to imagine an older woman dating a younger man, but while Carla seems a bit hesitant at first, she just eventually goes with the flow.
Dante is merely twenty-four years old and while Carla decides to keep her relationship with Dante open and in a fling stage, everything starts to change as the story progresses. It’s amazing how Carla and Dante shared a mutual understanding even though they have different interests. I guess it boils down to their level of maturity. You see, Dante is not the usual immature 24-year-old guy we normally come across. Readers will actually be surprised by his maturity. His personality and looks are too appealing for one not to like him. He also has this confidence which makes him follow his heart without letting anyone stop him. Aside from him being open to having a relationship with Carla, readers can surely tell that Dante wants a job where he’s passionate about, too, not just working for the sake of high salary and the like.
Don’t get me wrong. I am also amazed by Carla’s efficiency when it comes to organizing and planning events. She’s definitely reliable – makes one really want to have someone like her to work with. However, while she possesses this impressive ability, she still has to work with her emotions, especially on how she handles her feelings in some parts of the book.
I really like how this book is able to show how people usually react when a couple enters into a relationship when a woman is older than a man. It makes readers actually weigh the pros and cons of it. Aside from this, this book makes one gain some realizations about friendship, love, and life in general. It’s really great to learn how true Carla’s friends are, especially Mary and Tonio. They’re always on the look out for Carla and seeing how concerned they are proves that that kind of friendship is hard to come by. Furthermore, readers will slowly learn to grasp that as we grow older, the topics we talk about with friends change overtime. We get to realize that we tend to make things a little bigger than they really are. It makes me reflect about it, agree with it, and laugh as I look back through the times when I made little things turn into such a drama.
It’s fun to read something different once in a while. This is my first time to read a chick lit novella in a local setting written by a Filipino author. I find the story interesting even though I can’t put myself in Carla’s situation. But I still ended up enjoying it and it certainly did not disappoint me.
As much as this is a love story, I guess this book is also about building self-confidence and esteem. I will definitely pick up more of Mina V. Esguerra’s books. I’m now eyeing for My Imaginary Ex. Can somebody help me find a copy of it?