Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review: The Book of Forbidden Feelings by Lala Bohang

Author: Lala Bohang
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Pages: 152
Format: Hardcover
Published: July, 2016
Price: Rp73.950 (
Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Date started: January 6, 2017 - Date finished: January 6, 2017

I wanted to say, "I would love to know your obsessions, Is it landed house, gadgets, power, domestic life, succulent plants, achievements, money, work, more likes and followers, health, validations, sex, organic food, pets, perfect selfies, children, sports, religion, relationship, minimalism, perfection, muscles, urban toys, shoes, traveling, or fame?" but nobody is prepared for that kind of question on a first date. 
So I said, "You look great."
The Book of Forbidden Feelings was probably one of the most hyped up books of 2016 in Indonesia. With that being said, of course I came into this book with a high expectation even though poetry books are kind of a hit and miss to me. I once flipped through a couple of pages of this book in a bookstore but I never really finished it, I never really bought it due to the fact that it is quite an expensive book. I finally bought this book during the's harbolnas promotion because what the heck might as well buy it since it was so cheap. After I finished this book, it was obvious to me that this one falls into the "miss" category of poetry books to me.

I know it's bad to compare things, but I kept comparing this book to Naela Ali's Stories for Rainy Days, which I really liked and I know both of these books are different from one another heck the only similarity is that they're both illustrators. A little about this book, obviously this book is a collection of poems written and illustrated by Lala Bohang. The poems in this book highlights Lala's "forbidden feelings", which I loosely translated into the thoughts people have hidden inside that they only keep to themselves because those thoughts are dangerous and could get them into trouble. To be honest with you, I expected the content of this book to be wilder because when a title has "forbidden feelings" in it I expect it to discuss "forbidden" things. To me this book fell short in that department, although one or two poems in this book caught my eye most of the others just felt like rantings to me.

The ones that caught my eye:
Dark chocolate, physical interaction, coffee, love, money, and affection. They're our kinds of heaven on earth, temporary but enough at least for now. Enough to fill the mundane daily life. Enough for now. But then days remind you of the word forever. Forever is a long time and no matter how much dark chocolate, physical interaction, coffee, love, money, and affection fill your life. It will never be enough.
The funny thing is the more hate you put in, the harder you forget. The more anger and rage in it, the sadder you become. When everything goes really bad but you're able to get through that shitty situation, you're magically reborn. You feel more loved and more attached to the person you hate the most. That's why the hardest memories to forget is the worst memories to remember.
Stylistically, in terms of writing Naela and Lala are way different from one another. Naela's writing is more on the "sweet" side and Lala adds a dash of a "melancholic" tone to hers. Obviously it all comes down to the taste of the readers itself, I for one preferred Naela's writing than Lala's just because when I was reading Naela's book I can relate more than I did with Lala's book. When I was reading Naela's book I can feel that it was coming from a personal place, which is what I didn't feel when I was reading Lala's book. Although, I think the author should be applauded becuase she can really capture this kind of a mixture of bleak and melancholic tone in her writing.

The illustrations in this book were amazing obviously, I wish I could create illustrations like the ones in this book. From my amateur perspective and observation, Lala drew the same kind of girl in this book's illustrations over and over again in what I'm assuming is a representation of her combined with the representation of the feelings in this book, which I liked. I could be wrong though, but that is how I chose to interpret her illustrations in this book.

In conclusion, please do not let this review discourage you from reading this book. I'm just merely stating my opinions about this book. Needless to say, to me, this book had a really interesting concept but its execution weren't up to par as it didn't left me with a memorable impression. As always, people will have different opinions about a book, some may love it while others loathe it, but it's just the way it goes.

That's all for now!

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