I once gifted this book to a friend of mine when she turned 18, and she told me that she really enjoyed it, so I got curious about the content. Luckily, Summit Books sent me a copy of this book so I was able to read it.
I really enjoyed the short stories included in the book. Most of the authors are familiar to me, and I have read some of their other works. Some of the authors are local celebrities here in the Philippines and it was cool to see another creative aspect of them.
My favorite story from the anthology is Agay Llanera’s Birthday Girl. It’s the story of Laya, who died from an accident on her 18th birthday and was given the chance to relive one day, any day of her choice, and she picked the last day of her dad’s life upon knowing that her dad hasn’t crossed over yet.
One of the things I really liked about the story was the innocence and sincerity of Laya’s father. The story was set during the Martial Law era in the Philippines, although it wasn’t explicitly mentioned. I picked it up early from the story. To cut this short, her dad was one of the many people who fought for freedom and became one of the casualties so Laya wasn’t able to meet him, and that was her only chance. Laya gave him the chance to write a letter to her mom, who was pregnant with Laya during the time. With that, they all were able to get closure, and Laya helped her dad cross over.
A simple story, with a deep meaning. It made me think about the other Martial Law victims, and their families who haven’t found their own closure, and justice. I met Agay last April but I forgot to mention this to her, I’ll be sure to tell her how much I loved this story the next time we meet!
I also enjoyed the illustrations from the book. Each work comes with an illustration, which looked like they belong to a beautiful creative zine with some indie vibe. This was a pretty good book overall, but I pretty much skipped some of the content because they weren’t just getting into me. I still recommend this book, especially as a gift to people turning 18!