Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Books That Bind Us: Mythology Class

When my first born, Nico, was in sixth grade, he read Mythology Class by Arnold Arre. I have kept a copy over the years, but, honestly, I have not finished reading it until Zoe, my daughter pushed me to. With her brother's influence, she read the novel, of course. 

Last month, during my four day stay in Sagada, I willed myself to read it. And yes, like my kids, I enjoyed the book as well.

Zoe's note on the title page
What worked

Arre successfully merged the old stories of Philippine lower legends and myths within the modern day setting. He knows his myths and he can tell stories. He invites readers to take the fantasy ride using familiar experiences: family, barkada, malls and pop culture, academic life, falling in love and near death experiences. Once you're hooked, he transports you to the what-if universe. The thing is, you would give him a chance because the possibility of this fantasy world to be real is a metaphor for living a life.

I don't exactly know what my kids found enjoyable in Mythology Class, but for me, being a fantasy reader, the stories I loved from childhood propels me to keep on hoping in light of the many challenges this world has to offer. Like the hero of the novel, Nicole Lacson, one must have faith in order to live and thrive. And yes, the romantic in me believes that keeping the faith will lead me to find love even in the most difficult of times.

What's amazing about Mythology Class is that, it holds an appeal to young readers a decade and four after its publication. That happens when you put a well researched and well written story together. As for the illustrations, the black and white renditions are very accessible.

What did not work

I could not help but think of Arre's purpose for creating Mythology Class. Perhaps it is a response to the many Gaimanish graphic novels that abound in the market, that Filipino readers and comic book creators need to read something homegrown. It's no biggie, really. But, I am looking at more original stuff. Then again, I contradict myself. There is nothing new under the sun. With brilliant craftsmanship, something old can be turned into a fresh and new creation. I give props to Arre for achieving this.

Zoe's note at the end of the book.

Lastly, the binding is not that sturdy. I think this is one area where our publishers can improve on. I am looking forward to a newer edition. So, if Mr. Arre happens to read this review, I hope he would give it a thought.

Rating: 4 Bookmarks
Recommended: Gr. 5 and up

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...