Finally, after months of searching, I was able to find a copy of My Imaginary Ex at Fully Booked Greenhills. It was a good timing when I bought this book because I was looking for something to bring with me while I go on a week-long trip this Holy Week. Without any hesitation, I decided to bring My Imaginary Ex along with Love Your Frenemies.
Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she’d just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can’t even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it’s too late?
The pacing of this book is just right. The novella might be short, but the author did not fail to present the unique personalities of each character. Readers will get to witness how the characters have changed as time passes – Zack, Jasmine, Lena, and Marjorie. I will not delve into the details so as to avoid any spoilers.
Moving on, the story is set in present time combined with flashbacks to better understand when Jasmine mentions something that has happened in the past. It’s like readers are transported into the inner consciousness of Jasmine. I really like the plot line Mina has come up with because Filipinos can easily relate to it – wherein the places mentioned are familiar to Filipino readers. Non-Filipino readers, on the other hand, will also get a glimpse of some Filipino culture in the book.
This book definitely talks about the relationship between Zack and Jasmine. Zack has not been very vocal about his feelings for Jasmine, while Jasmine has been oblivious towards Zack’s sweet gestures. It’s nice to know how Jasmine went through all of it in her point of view, but I’m also curious about Zack’s. As much as I very much enjoyed the book, I’m pretty sure that if the author has included Zack’s point of view, Mina could have delivered a more exemplified job.
I’m actually in favor of this friendship-budding-to-love kind of relationship because somehow, in the friendship stage, both parties will start to learn about each other. Maybe it’s just me, but when friendship turns to love, there will be no feeling of awkwardness despite the exposure of vulnerability from both parties. It is also tackled in this book that love is all about taking risks – one of the things I learned in college. Reading this book leaves me feeling nostalgic of the college years. Speaking of which, coming across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in the book, I smiled at myself because we also took that personality test in college, although I have already forgotten what I got in the test.
Of all the characters I met in the book, Tim and Kimmy irritate me the most. The way Kimmy projects herself intimidates other people. Both she and Tim possess this “Look of Condescension” where they look down on other people, especially at Jasmine. Kimmy may be perfect physically, but if one bases it on her manipulative personality, the ugliness of it overpowers her physical stature. Furthermore, the kind of personality Tim has also pisses me off. What kind of boyfriend is he anyway? He is not supportive of Jasmine’s work, and somehow wants to show off that he’s an alpha male, belittling Jasmine. It’s a good thing Jasmine ends her relationship with him.
Overall, this novella, being Mina’s first work, is a success – not just as it is sold in bookstores and read by many people, but Mina is able to create a story where readers can relate to the characters and feel with them, whether it be hatred, pity, or love. I’ll definitely read more of her books.