Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Karinderya Love Songs by John Pucay (Book Review)

The spate of bad weather the past few days has afforded me the time to finally dig into my to-be-read list. One of the titles I finished reading is Karinderya Love Songs, a recently published novel by John Pucay, a writer with Kankanaey-Ibaloi roots. Before anything else, it's great to see a fellow Cordilleran writer publish a work of fiction. Most books I've encountered that were authored by Cordillerans are non-fiction. Books that are usually the products of university presses. Books that are intended to be read by academics, not by the general reader.

This is a good start. Karinderya Love Songs just might be the spark that inspires writers in this corner of the world to begin working on their first novel, poetry collection, or short story collection with the goal of seeing it in print.

Karinderya Love Songs is at first glance a romance novel. It's written in the "first person" with an autobiographical style so you feel like you are reading someone's diary instead of a novel. There's not much of what you could call a plot. It's more of musings by the main character about concepts of modern love, sex, and dating.

It's obvious that the novel has millinneals and Gen Z as its target readers because these are the people who can potentially relate to the story. The themes and topics in the novel revolve around dating, sex, and romantic relationships. If this novel is a movie, it would receive an R-18 rating from the movie board. I'm not saying that that is a good or a bad thing. In the end, it depends on your literary taste.

Romance novels are not my cup of tea. I pretty much stay away from novels whose foundations are built upon romantic relationships. I can't honestly remember the last time I read a romantic novel. But I think one of the stronger points of Karinderya Love Songs is how unapologetic it is. It doesn't try to hide or skirt around the serious topics of love, dating, and sex. The novel unapologetically barges through them with guns blazing.

As I alluded to earlier, the novel pretty much contains the musings of the main character about love, sex, and relationships. You are going to either agree or disagree with his ideas. You are going to either love or hate his take on modern dating.

I gave the book to a female friend. I wanted to hear what a reader from the opposite gender think about the novel. A couple days later, she sent me her review. Basically, she said that the book has good parts and bad parts. That's pretty much every book ever written. She particularly pointed out that she found the book "crass". Well, maybe that's exactly what the book aimed to achieve. It literally describes itself as "crass" in its back cover. I told her to check the back cover. She replied, "Oh, I see."

[Karinderya Love Songs was published in 2022. To get a copy, you can search for John Pucay on Facebook or visit his website at johnpucay.com. If I'm not mistaken, you can also get an ebook version of his book if you prefer reading with your gadget.]