How I flip over Flipped

Saturday, April 3, 2021


Having gone through different stages of emotions are not the coolest situations to be in now. It didn’t help that you are pink and sometimes out of rue, could not be so proud of it. It didn’t help either when you know that you are that other being, so whatever you heard from the horse’s mouth could be deliberately repeated, sometimes finely rehashed to suit the need and the occasion. Yes, as I write this, I’m walking on that relationship dark tunnel:barely any light could be seen on the extreme end. 

Yes, when the going gets tough, which is often and vicariously repetitive on my case, just like any other gay guy in the planet, I turn to other things. Not beer which I found unlikely since the day I decided to drown my tears in vortex of spirits where it resulted to wracking sobs and sour taste in the mouth that would not go for days. Especially not seeking for other guy for that matter. Rebound only happens in the basketball court, not in the arena of love gone wrong.

Believe me when I say I'd rather go bar-hopping with my friends to meet new prospects, but tonight would be different. I would cut down the chase and go directly to what makes me happy: books. Not the best dates ever, you would say, but having said that, I think you better reconsider when you read Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. Let me tell you, this is a total obsessive recall. I’ve read the book more than I could count, I’ve seen the movie adapted from it, I had my readings on the author’s life, and I visited her website and learned small and great things about her inspiration. Believe me when I say, after few pages, the tormenting memories of my beau gradually dissipated and temporarily lost somewhere between pages 6 and 46.

This is the kind of book that casts its spell sans magic and incantation. There is nothing complicated in this work, the choice of words is apt to its intended audience. Yes, I unabashedly admit, I read stuff for the teens. This is more like eating your favorite dessert: smooth, velvety and melts in your mouth.

The cover features an upside down chick which best defines the travails I’m going through right now. If it’s glorious coincidence, I pay no notice whatsoever. It has he said, she said chapters mainly for the two characters: Bryce Loski and Julianna Baker. Such dreamy names bring you back to the carefree days of April sunshine and May rain showers. This, I can declare now with certainty is the perfect read when you are nursing your own broken heart. To say that this little book will teach you things or two about how to handle relationships and build responsibility and saying sorry as regrettable territory is an understatement.

The chapter begins with Bryce Loski- with the gorgeous blue eyes, helps his father unpacks their stuff as they move to a new neighborhood until the pesky Julianna Baker, starts rummaging, foraging, and messing just to give a hand to her new neighbors. That is the prelude of what to be expected from the trappings. That was the only time that Julianna swears that one day she’ll be able to kiss the irresistible Bryce.  And that started the cat and mouse hunt: one that involves the cutting of a sycamore tree where the author delineated with sheer environmental panache, the throwing of eggs where Julianna found out that the eggs laid by her chickens, which were first prize winners in their Science Fair, were thrown on a regular basis just because the Loskis fear they were crawling with germs that might breed  e.coli / salmonella,  the finding out of Julianna’s uncle with special needs where Bryce and his cool friend poked fun about, the dinner where Loskis invited the Bakers for a night of second chances, the flipping of emotions where Julianna no longer dreamt of kissing Bryce and  Bryce starting to realize how fiercely endearing Julianna could be. Such long sentences will never give justice to the quiet tears I’ve shed and the raucous laughter emanated from my lips during the breathless reading of this adorable yarn. I commend the author by coming up with such believable protagonists I can care about. I highlighted paragraphs because of its luminosity. I wrote down interesting lines in my moleskin notebook and recite them to my students every time an opportunity presents itself.

In the core of Flipped are glimmering slices of life. Take for instance, Julianna’s attachment to trees. She believed in its sanctity. She believed that it need not cut just for the sake of building houses. Bryce desire to change his ways is an admirable trait that every man must subscribe to which reminds me of someone, now if he could only read this. When a book could make you reflect on what matters in life, that is absolutely for keeps.

One of the stirring parts in the book is when Julianna’s father told her about ‘looking at a whole landscape’ or about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  It blundered me back to the days where I cried myself silly over unanswered texts, or over premature jealousy found in Facebook. Now, I found out with gravity that the way to appreciate him, or anyone for that matter, is through his totality as a person, not the way he didn’t return messages, or the awkward pauses on late-night telephone calls, with soulless sighs escaping from lips into the balmy air. This hit me good time because when I embarked on Van Draanen journey, I only want an escapist thrill, not an alternate reality, and which this book delivered the goods.

I would like to believe that we should all be a Julianna Baker and Bryce Loski. Determined but not aggressively so. Grounded but not too rooted to the spot. And if things went  haywire, we should easily let go, well not as strong as letting go should be, but just to blend, too hurt to say a word, just letting the world run on its course in slow imperceptible steps. This book flew out of my shelves into my waiting, zealous hands, the literary dust motes dispersing in all directions, just in time that I dropped my phone with his final message of the day blinked in.

Having gone through different stages of emotions, some richly textured, some tragic, some unexplainable, would be tolerable if you’re reading a book which according to Booklist ‘ a romance with substance and subtlety’. Much better if you’re pink and proud and you’re not just the other being but being the center of his universe. You would appreciate this even more after the last page is turned. The ending is poignant and satisfying and impressive. It almost made me believe in the sweetness of love lost and found without the bitter aftertaste.

As I cap this off, I may still be walking from that dark and dreary tunnel, with no light from extreme end, but who would say I don’t believe that everything will be better. I do. And if Julianna Baker believed so despite whatever happened between her and Bryce, who am I to deny the tug of the heartstring?

‘ Maybe it’s time to meet him in the proper light’.



Collage Art: Nichi app
Images: Pinterest


Post a Comment