While I was still on the hunt for searching Mina V. Esguerra’s My Imaginary Ex, I decided to read her other works first. There are a few of her books that are not available in local bookstores, and since I prefer to read from actual books, I ordered directly from Mina despite the books’ availability in Amazon in e-book format. I’m humbly grateful that Mina mailed the books to me. Eager to read the book, I began with Fairy Tale Fail. Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:
Even after her Prince Charming broke up with her, she just won’t give up … because fairy tale heroines don’t live “happily ever after” right away, silly, they’re tested first!
Determined to pass the test, she spends the next year restoring herself to the girl Prince Charming had fallen in love with in the first place.
Until she discovers that life without him might not be so bad after all: her career is taking off, her confidence is back, and the cute guy at work is no longer a stranger.
So when is it okay to quit on a fairy tale?
Given the book’s description about Don, it is evident that he is perceived as the perfect guy – handsome, someone who is mature, responsible, and who doesn’t drink and smoke. Who wouldn’t want that, right? A girl would already feel secure and wouldn’t worry about the future anymore. However, there’s always a downside – he’s not as perfect as what he seems to be.
Ellie, on the other hand, collides with Don’s personality. She has a free spirit in a sense that she independently follows where the wind blows and makes the most out of the things life presents to her. This strong point of Ellie becomes the problem in her relationship with Don. Readers might hate Don for being a jerk, but Ellie doesn’t see that. She hopes to attain her fairy tale dream with Don, overlooking his imperfections.
With this said, Ellie seems to depend on Don. She becomes stuck in her past which prevents her from moving on. She also establishes this “Prince Charming template”, making her ignore what’s more important in her life. And then comes the charismatic Lucas, the Rock Star – as what the employees call him in Ellie’s work building. The more Ellie spends time with Lucas, the more I like her to end up with him rather than Don. And I’m sure readers will swoon over Lucas, too.
As I read through this novella, this somehow encourages me to contemplate on the true meaning of love. This also makes me remember the lessons I learned before from one of my Theology classes in college. I agree with Ellie that a relationship should begin with friendship, but a love that isn’t reciprocated will become a problem. The “love” Don shows for Ellie isn’t love at all. He merely projects his expectations and wants to Ellie; thus, if this isn’t fulfilled, he will immediately break up with her. It is a relief that Ellie comes to this realization, and therefore, she begins to stand up for herself with confidence and reflect that with love, a person will accept the other for who he or she really is.
Overall, this novella is an enjoyable and easy read. I can feel the characters and sympathize with them. Mina is able to provide an avenue where readers can compare who between the two guys is better and more worthy to win Ellie’s heart. Although the story is just short, Mina does not fail to write an interesting story that’s hard to put down. I would definitely want to read more about Lucas and the reason behind Don’s high expectations of the girls he’s in a relationship with.