Bob Ong, Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan.
Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s kind of hard to talk about this book without comparing it to the previous books of Bob Ong, but let me try to focus on this particular one only. Bob Ong wrote ABNKKBSNPLAKO, Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ang Mga Pilipino, Alamat ng Gubat, Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas, Stainless Longganisa, MacArthur, at Kapitan Sino. I do salute Bob Ong’s ability to engage the young ones in reading. I believed he touched a certain niche of readers, and those readers kept on following his every book release, even hound the publisher for his next book – yes, that includes me.
After reading his 8th book, I have this feeling that this book was “pre-overrated.” There were too much hype that readers tend to have their opinions influenced, when in fact the book wasn’t that wonderful. I am a Bob Ong fan, don’t get me wrong. I believe in his school of thought when it comes to writing stories, and he’s such a quotable writer – but let me clarify that all those quotes flying around Facebook pages are not all his.
This is his first horror-suspense book, and I know he intend not to confine himself on the same genre of stories, but not leaving his usual conversational style of narration. His 7 other books have different story formats, and topics, which I really enjoyed.
Anyway, let’s go back the book. The book is about Galo, his journal, and of course Mama Susan. A first-person narrative, or should I say a narrative based on Galo’s journal - which he writes due to his class requirement. Based on his journal, Galo is a college student, with a dysfunctional family, and lives with his adoptive Aunt, and was eventually sent to province. He stayed with his grandmother, and met various people with characters that played an important role in his journey in meeting Mama Susan.
The book has the same appeal as his other books – witty, funny, realistic and very Filipino. His book is engaging in terms of his writing style, and it’s never hard to comprehend since he did converse in colloquial tagalog, not to mention the book wasn’t that thick in pages. Students who had experiences in writing journal just because their teachers required them so can really relate on Galo’s frustrations, while some who has a dysfunctional relationship with their relatives can understand what he is going through.
As I read the book, I find it “nakakainip” in terms of its horror aspect, especially when I was halfway to the back cover and I haven’t found the climax of the story, which I believe is with Mama Susan’s “appearance”. I was waiting for “Mama Susan” to be introduced, so I can start scaring myself, but it took a while for her to come out.
I think the book wasn’t really a horror-suspense story. There may be some aspects of “suspense” but not how I think it should be. I was expecting a book being told in a horror-suspense style from cover to cover. The description wasn’t that really scary, or maybe because I got carried away with Galo’s ”cool” character. The book is good, but not how I want a horror-suspense should be. But of course, I know I am not the only reader to be considered.
Just like any Bob Ong book’s it has a message that wasn’t specifically written within the pages. I could tell that some political and religious aspect was discussed as Mama Susan cursed Galo on his wrong doings. There are religious issues being opened, and for sure readers started to look within themselves for some reflection.
Anyhow, no matter what my review about this book, I will still be buying Ong’s next book. I’m still a fan, after all.
Read my review on his new book - Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin