Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time now. I actually bought this book when my mom and I attended the MV Logos Hope Book Fair, but I hadn’t gotten myself into reading it. Recently, though, I was looking for a short read and this book caught my attention. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Stolen from his life of luxury, Buck finds himself in the frozen Yukon Territory as part of a team of sledge dogs. Half-starved and cruelly treated, Buck must endure hardship beyond anything he’s experienced before. And through it all, he hears the call of the wild beckoning him – playing on his most primitive animal instincts.

The story specifically sets place in Alaska. I’m grinning ear to ear when I find out about this. Yes, as shallow as it may sound, I dream of going to that place someday and you know, from the books I read, the setting never goes as far as Alaska. What’s so special about Alaska, you might ask? I’m not after the snow or the cold, but I genuinely wish to witness the grandness of the aurora borealis. Plus, I might have a chance of seeing sled dogs firsthand! Now I’m more excited, but who knows when that trip will happen. But hey, a girl can dream.

Anyway, going back to the story, something happens that leads the people to go North. And since technological means of transportation is unlikely during that time, and given the weather condition of the place of destination, the last resort left is to start recruiting sled dogs. Unfortunately, Buck is not able to escape this dreadful event.

Buck, a mixed-breed of St. Bernard and Scotch shepherd dog, is stolen from his owners to take part in dog sleds and is treated badly. A domesticated dog he is, Buck has to bear the harsh weather and cold treatment from the humans and fellow dogs. But the most interesting part of this is the fact that from a being civilized dog, he begins to turn to his primordial instincts.

The Call of the Wild is quite a unique book as the narration does not limit itself to describe only the setting and a human’s thoughts and actions. Jack London makes it possible to bring readers into the minds of the dogs as well. The way Jack London builds up the story is so realistic and at the same time, imaginative because he succeeds in perfectly portraying how a dog thinks and acts. Somehow, it makes me understand a little bit more about dogs and how they work as a pack. And evidently, I find myself becoming more emotionally attached to the dogs since I don’t deny that I have a soft spot when it comes to them.

While I read through the book, I come to admire at how Buck develops to become a stronger and wiser dog. He proves to trust his instincts more than obeying and that certainly saves his life. He also possesses a dominating feature that deems him fit to become the leader of a pack and true enough, he does not fail in this category. Amazingly, while Buck gradually hears the call of the wild and becomes one, he’s still the kind of dog you like to have around. The loyalty and love he has shown towards John Thornton and vice verse reach deeply to my heart and make me grow fond of the depth of their bond. Reading about him definitely reminds me of my pet dogs. They’re not as wild as Buck, but considering the time I spend with them, I have come to love them as part of my family, too. Just like in the book, I hope to read their minds or that they could communicate with us in common language. I would really hate it if they were ever to be separated from us as they already hold a special place in our hearts.

To be honest, I rarely read classic books, or worse, I don’t seem to remember the last time I read a classic, but I don’t regret to have picked up this book. It actually took me a little while to get used to Jack London’s writing as the words used and how they are structured are different from contemporary books. Despite this simple realization, I’m glad I still decided to read and finish the book. It reminds me how the past continues to be a part of us and should never be forgotten as it will continue to shape us mentally and perhaps, emotionally.

Overall, I ended up enjoying the book more than I expected. It offers something different from what I often read and the story keeps me interested until the end. This classic book is perfect for children, and yet, its storyline is not so childish at all that young adults or adults will still find themselves enjoying it. I will surely miss Buck and I hope this story continues to live on in the hearts and minds of the young and old.


It’s a Bird? It’s an Airplane? It’s a Flying Magic Carpet!

From what it’s usually known for its film version, Disney’s ALADDIN takes the stage to offer us a musical production, something I fervently believe each one of us should look forward to. And for me, I cannot let this pass so easily. To give you a brief background of the show, here’s a description taken from the program booklet:

Based on the much-loved animated film, Disney’s ALADDIN tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp. The brand new romantic musical adventures incorporates all the beloved songs from the film’s Oscar-winning score and brings some of the movie’s most memorable characters to life. Jafar, Iago, the Sultan, the Genie and of course Aladdin and Jasmine come together to create a whole new world of magical musical theatre for the whole family. Disney’s ALADDIN features music by eight time Oscar award Alan Menken and Lyrics by Oscar Award winner Howard Ashman, Oscar Award winner Tim Rise, and Tony Award nominated lyricist Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the brand new book of the musical).

I have always been a Disney fan and ALADDIN was no exception. Once my boyfriend told me about the production, he immediately bought tickets for both of us. And thus, on the evening of November 17th, the highly-anticipated date had come and we just couldn’t contain our excitement!

The show overwhelmed me with feelings so much that I couldn’t find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed the musical production. You know what I mean? There are so many things I want to say, yet I’m afraid I might diminish the value of the show’s effect on me. I hope could do this right, so I’ll just pour my heart out and somehow, make meaningful sense out of it.

Disney’s ALADDIN’s newest stage musical somewhat differs from the animated film. The show presents us with more songs aside from those we’re familiar with in the movie; thus, letting the audience connect more with the characters, as well as the story itself. From the famous songs like Arabian Nights, One Jump Ahead, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, and A Whole New World, the show also introduces us to new songs such as Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim, Proud of Your Boy, Call Me a Princess, A Million Miles Away, Somebody’s Got Your Back, and a lot more.

It is evident that some details have been tweaked a bit, but the whole concept of the story remains the same. With the absence of animal characters such as Abu and Rajah, they are, instead, replaced by Aladdin’s three astonishing, significant sidekicks – Babkak, Kassim, and Omar. They also serve as narrators of the story while scenes transition from one to another, entertaining the audience with their striking personalities, funny dialogues, and out-of-this-world song numbers.

Atlantis Productions’ Disney’s ALADDIN is beyond expectation. Everything and every character seem to come out directly from the movie. It’s like witnessing a fantasy happening in reality. Each actor/actress succeeds in portraying their designated roles and I can’t help but be amazed by their God-given talents. For one, I never expected Tom Rodriguez to represent Aladdin perfectly. I knew him from Pinoy Big Brother before, but since I don’t update myself much with showbiz news, I’m not familiar with his acting skills, let alone his singing skills. I’m, indeed, quite surprised by his performance. He talks, acts, and sings exactly like Aladdin from the movie. Amazing, right? You guys have to watch to believe it. On the other hand, K-La Rivera never disappoints. Her voice pitch reminds me of Jasmine as well. Her performance is just as wonderful. Furthermore, I won’t forget Calvin Millado, too! His portrayal of the Genie is entertaining and unforgettable. What makes the show more interesting is the fact that Calvin Millado tries to make it interactive by engaging the audience to be part of the show. It truly melts my heart hearing the children laugh with us – a remarkable experience worth remembering and repeating. I just hope I could watch it again with Aiza Seguerra in it.

Overall, I cannot describe how I feel about the musical production. The cast did an outstanding performance. Even though I can follow some of the lines or dialogues similar to the movie, the cast still never fails to make me laugh and feel connected to the show. I guess it’s the way they deliver their lines and how they sing and act that capture me the most. Moreover, the staff also did a superb job in giving the show an Arabian feel to the audience. The lighting, the intricate and creative designs of props and costumes – everything is made perfect. True enough, Disney’s ALADDIN takes the young and old on a journey on a magic carpet ride to see a whole new world of Aladdin. Hands down to everyone who took part in making the show a success. In four words, Disney’s ALADDIN is: Amazing. Funny. Memorable. Nostalgic.

Buy your tickets now while it’s not yet too late! The show’s ongoing until December 9, 2012. And may you enjoy the show as much as I did.

The Cast: Tom Rodriguez as Aladdin; K-La Rivera as Jasmine; Aiza Seguerra and Calvin Millado as Genie; Jun Ofrasio as Sultan; Raul Montesa as Jafar; Bibo Reyes as Babkak; Johann dela Fuente as Omar; Jamie Wilson as Kassim; and Jimmy Marquez as Iago.

Every Day by David Levithan

To be honest, I’ve never read any of David Levithan’s books yet, not until I heard of Every Day. As simple as the title may sound, the premise of the story holds something more and it intrigued me enough to get a copy for myself. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

While I am reading the book, I keep thinking that this is probably what it feels like to literally be in somebody else’s shoes. A’s in a rather peculiar situation. Readers might wonder why his name merely consists of a single letter and people will further question his nature and gender. There’s no definite distinction if A’s a male or female, but I just assume he’s a male. Basically, he is capable of inhabiting bodies of the same age as his. The only downside of this is that A cannot control it willingly.

Every chapter elaborates the life of A for a day in a body he inhabits. But is he really a human or merely an entity that exists in space? It’s really hard to find proof of his existence. There’s no exact explanation why A’s like that or how he is made to be like that. It’s a mystery and it’s hard to grasp this fact to convince anyone to believe. However, the types of bodies he inhabits and his interactions with people of diverse personalities and kinds deepen the story more. It gives him an open mind and a wider perspective about life that lets him learn new insights from every different angle of surrounding or environment he’s into.

It’s hard to imagine myself in A’s position. There may be times when I wish I could spend a day in a different body, but I know that moving from one body to another every day will not allow me ample time to get to know a person more and I would surely dread that. Moreover, it will be outside my comfort zone, which isn’t exactly my strong point. It might be exciting to experience what A experiences, but then, you’re always distant, with no sense of belonging or whatsoever. Maybe this is also the reason why he is easily attracted to Rhiannon because of the connection they shared.

On the other hand, A’s capability to inhabit a different body every day somehow gives him a true sense of freedom as well. He can freely do anything (harmful or not) without ever getting caught, but his conscience keeps him guided to make the right choices.

As I am reading the book, at first, I wanted to smack his head to give him some sense. He acts so selfishly as he puts Rhiannon ahead over the lives he inhabits. It seems unfair and childish for others, but as the story progresses, readers will slowly see the changes in A. He becomes more mature and selfless that I come to sympathize with him more.

Overall, the book amused me by its originality and the uniqueness of the storyline keeps me turning page after page. As much as I’m curious about how A will adapt to the body, there are times when I wish I could learn more about the other people he inhabits, too. I’m also amazed by how philosophical the book turns out to be. It makes the point of the importance of just being. The book certainly tackles a lot of things about life and I guess readers can extract life-changing lessons from this book, like how we always focus on the past and what’s to come that we often take the present for granted.

After reading this book, all I end up saying is, WOW. The storyline is so unexpected and bittersweet and everything I never thought it would be. David Levithan surely has a way to capture my heart. He tries to convey a deeper message that is hard to explain in simple words. This book has definitely opened my mind about life, too. The events in the book may not exactly happen in real life, but it makes me reflect on the idea about the willingness to accept change every day, about sacrifice, about risks, about love, and especially about the present. Every Day leaves me satisfied yet curious of what’s to happen to A. This will not disappoint you.

The Guardians, Book Three: Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce

So, it seems that Pitch has already been defeated, but not quite. Because we haven’t met the rest of the Guardians yet! With the anticipation of the movie, Rise of the Guardians, I’m more eager to learn about the Guardians. And William Joyce’s third book of the series is about tooth fairies. Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

When last we heard, The Guardians were resting easy with the knowledge that the children of Santoff Claussen were finally safe from Pitch’s dastardly plans.

But is it all a ruse, a scheme, a lull the evil Nightmare King has deviously concocted? Whatever Pitch’s plans, what he doesn’t know is that there’s a new Guardian in town, and she’s not the type to forget old grudges. Actually, she’s not the type to forget anything, because this Guardian is none other than Toothiana, the Tooth Fairy herself. She’s fierce and fast, and crossing her will lead to a multitude of troubles. And it turns out that, well, all those teeth she has been collecting? They contain memories: the forgotten memories of childhood. Young Katherine hopes that these memories might help her to remember her parents. The Guardians hope they’ll offer even further protection from Pitch.

You can see how this information would be invaluable to our heroes.

But it could also be invaluable to Pitch…

Just by the title itself, it’s evident that the book tackles the history of Toothiana and what pushes her to become who she is now. It feels nostalgic reading this book. How did tooth fairies originate exactly? Why do they become part of our childhood stories in the first place? Even my parents made me believe that something or someone was claiming our baby teeth after we put them on the floor at the side of our bed (when in fact, I later on figured out that the teeth will just be swept away when our maid cleaned the room).

As much as Toothiana centers the storyline, Katherine has made an important role in this book, too. Moreover, readers have seen an unexpectedly different kind of Pitch – not the villainous portrayal of him that makes us want to hate him to the fullest. There’s a hint of pity in him that will doubt our conviction for his evilness. It’s really a surprise that Katherine and Pitch both have similarities. They share the same kind of feeling of yearning and longing for their loved ones that perhaps lets them understand one another.

I’m really curious of Pitch’s thoughts and feelings after he saw his daughter’s picture. I do hope he’ll change back to being human and then he and the Guardians will defeat the fearlings once and for all.

As the series progresses, we get to see the personalities of the Guardians that stand out from each of them. They are, indeed, diverse, but despite that fact, I’m still amazed by their ability to work together as a team. I’m most definitely fond of Bunnymund. I find him amusing due to his humorous side comments and ignorance toward humanity. The ending for this book may have a cliffhanger, but the story ends well. It convinces the readers to read the next book.

Full of magic, stories, and adventures, this book will keep you interested until the end. Your imaginations will definitely have no limit as long as you believe. Even I wish to taste Bunnymund’s chocolates and experience a spectacular magic effect on me, as well as to receive memories from my baby teeth. Furthermore, the detailed illustrations are just as impressive as the first two books. Hands down to William Joyce’s creativity. I’m really looking forward to the next book. The story isn’t finished and I have yet to meet the other Guardians that will bring more excitement to the plot.