|I only have the digital version, and the photo I took sucks.|
by Mina V. Esguerra
This is Mina's third work that I've had the pleasure of reading so far. (I am into the first few chapters of Interim Goddess of Love.) After having read Fairy Tale Fail and No Strings Attached last year, I can safely conclude that Love Your Frenemies is a far better, more engaging, and substantial read than the first two.
One week before her date at the altar, Kimmy Domingo's fiance, Zack, unceremoniously dumps her. (I say unceremoniously because the dumping was made via phone call. Jerk.) Shamed, she quit her job (where she rocked), packed her bags, and hopped on a plane for a year-long hiatus, cut off literally and figuratively, from everyone who mattered. A year later, she's back home, resolved to pick up the broken pieces of what was once her life and, in the process, cutting off – for good – the two people who, in her jilted point of view, were responsible for all her miseries.
Just a few chapters in, and my heart went out to Kimmy. I mean, I really can't relate to her experience of having been dumped, and just a few days right before the wedding at that, but it's not so hard to imagine. So I could sympathize with her, and if I were in her shoes (meaning, I had the resources and time), I would probably have done the same thing: go away and take a sabbatical for as long as I want.
But later on, I began to realize that the whole point of the novella wasn't really about Kimmy and her jaded love life, after all. Rather, it was about relationships and selflessness and appreciation for all the blessings in one's life, whether you are aware of it or not.
My favorite character was Chesca, who I hated at first because she was manipulative and pushy. In the end, she was still manipulative and pushy, but one other important thing became crystal clear: that she faithfully loved Kimmy, her best friend since childhood, and although she may have expressed this love in her own radical ways, it was nonetheless love in its purest form.
Kimmy, on the other hand, with whose plight I initially sympathized, was a pushover and a coward, blaming innocent people for the mess that was her life and failing to realize that no one can make her do something that she didn't want to. I was put off by her selfishness, but I liked the fact that she wised up in the end (they all do, right?). The resolution of course, comes not without outside help, and here I introduce the love interest, Manolo, who was a mere supporting character. I wasn't looking for a romantic story, and I was satisfied at how minor this romance angle was played.
Reading this brought me back to my Sweet Dreams-reading days, except that the characters are not high school students and the conflicts (and their resolutions) have gone beyond the petty jealousies and silly misunderstandings. I had been looking for some light reading, as well, and I knew I could count on Mina's books to do the trick. :)