I left this particular book inconspicuously lying about in my uncle's place and somehow everyone eyeing it later eyed me with a particular glint in their eyes. Okay maybe when I picked up Melvin Burgess's book, 'Doing it' I should've noted that the cover might arouse the attention of those looking at it. What more can I expect if everyone were to say;
"Walau man you reading porno? Got anything interesting you want to share with me?"
"Foh Chee (my dad), your son reading 'san kap' (pornographic) books? Some more leave it out in the open, if want also be more discreet lah"
"Hahahahahahahaha," was my cousin's reaction after he took the book up and read the synopsis and later spotted a wide leery grin whenever he looked at me.
Right, the front covered featured a pair of killer legs and the hands taking off a very naughty pair of panties with the background of the bed. The synopsis behind promises a naughty account of the characters within. But before all the good sensible people (those that say porn is evil yet secretly keeping them in a secret stash so no one is the wiser of their habit) wants to hang, crucify and burn me at the stakes, the books is not what the cover implies.
Yes the premise is about a fictitious account of three 17 year old guys dwelling into the issue of sex for the first time yet their sex life is one hell of a mess. Dino, Jonathan and Ben are all caught up in their very own world of problems when it comes to the matter of the heart. Dino fancies a girl, Jacky yet she is seeing someone but both can't get enough of each other yet cannot get along as well but he wants to do it with her and she just can't seem to resist him; Jonathan fancies this girl who is an old friend of his and they both get on splendidly with each other, the only problem is that Jonathan is embarrassed to be caught dating someone as he puts it 'plump' and his friends call fat; and Ben is caught in a situation where he is getting all the sex he wants, making it out in school, at home and anytime of the day, the only problem, his lover is his drama teacher and they both have been running an underground liaison session since. So what are they complaining about?
The book tells a no holds barred funny account on the sex life of an average American teenager which would put most of our parents here in an appalled state. The narrative is put in a very nice composition that would cause you to be in disbelief that such things can happen when yes they do and you'll be left in stitches with the boys' antics. Misadventure after misadventure, the books cleverly dissects what it felt like to be confused, scared and even curios about this thing we all call sex. It takes a more serious look at the feelings of adolesences caught in the transition of turning from a kid to an adult where sex is viewed as the defining point of this metamorphosis. Maybe we adults can no longer relate to the hormon driven madness and the inability to understand the other sex that plagues teenage boys, well this book will remind you about how tough it is for teenagers. A word of caution though, don't leave such 'incriminating' material lying around in plain view, you get more glances than you would care for. As Laura declares, "Put that away, people would think were doing something that we shouldn't else that they think I'm not treating you well enough that you have to rely on such books".
Neil Gaiman makes me want to write – and this is indeed a compliment of the highest order.
How so, you might wonder? Well, I was reading Gaiman’s Smoke & Mirrors, his collection of short fiction & poems, and he makes writing looks so bloody easy. He writes about mundane stuff. He writes about scary stuff. He writes about fantastic stuff. He writes about erotic stuff. And it all looks as natural as breathing!
He makes writing looks so simple that it seems as if just about anyone who knows their ABCs can write as beautifully as him. Which, by the way, is untrue.
He doesn’t have to be longwinded to get his points across. Just take a look at this story. 100 words. 102 words, if you include the title.
Older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tounge, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.
Once very year they forced him, sobbing & protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.
He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The image of good old Saint Nick as a tortured soul punished for all eternity by the elves is quite delicious, don't you think?